Born in Kaarina in western Finland
in 1920, Touko Laaksonen earned worldwide fame under the name Tom
of Finland. He died in 1991. Tom of Finland's drawings have had
a strong influence on erotic art and they have been an inspiration
to innumerable artists around the world. He created a new image
of a masculine homosexual man who is comfortable with himself and
proud of what he is.
His works convey a positive gay identity and are self-ironic and
humorous, as is typical of subcultures. He called his works 'dirty
pictures' and was astonished that people were so interested in them.
In the postscript of his biography, he commented on his own objectives:
"I hope that in the future even those who are different will
be accepted, not only gays but all people in the world with all
their differences. I have worked for this goal all my life."
Tom of Finland's works are in the collections of, for example,
the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary
Art Kiasma. Two exhibitions on Tom of Finland's art have been previously
organised in Finland, one in Helsinki and the other in Jyväskylä.
Both took place in the 1990s. They showed works from the collection
of the Tom of Finland Foundation in Los Angeles.
This exhibition is organised in collaboration with MSC Finland
- Tom's Club. In conjunction with the exhibition, the Helsinki City
Art Museum and the publishing company Like will publish the book
Tom of Finland: Ennennäkemätöntä - Unforeseen.