Given the long and illustrious career of the multi-talented Spanish artist Oscar Tusquets Blanca, it's surprising to learn that his new solo show at Room One gallery in Clerkenwell, London is his first ever in the UK.
Born in 1941 in Barcelona, Tusquets began his career in the 60s as an architect and now counts several exhibition halls in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Toledo metro station in Naples among his built works. As a furniture designer he co-designed the 'Dalilips' sofa in 1975 with his good friend Salvador; he was a founding member of design company BD Barcelona; and several of his furniture designs are now held in the collections of MoMA in New York and the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris. He has written several critically-acclaimed books and his paintings have been displayed in galleries across Europe.
For his UK gallery debut, Tusquets has gathered two of his limited edition 'Gaulino' chairs (originally designed in 1989 and produced by BD Barcelona) and 50 erotic oil paintings, called Hot Days, that depict female nudes in a sequence of provocative poses. Naturally, the artist also took charge of the exhibition design, creating a low walled enclosure painted scarlet red to match the firey hue used across his paintings.
Tying in with the exhibition's erotic theme, one of the elegantly poised, limited edition 'Gaulino' chairs has been customised by Tusquets with a pair of hand painted buttocks emblazoned across its contoured seat. Explaining the origin of the chair's unusual name, Tusquets comments, 'The chair took on a shape that was reminiscent of Antoni Gaudí and the 1950s Italian designer Carlo Mollino. For that reason... we decided to call it "Gaulino".'
In addition, Tusquets has published a limited edition Art Book in collaboration with Umberto Allemandi. Just 200 copies are available, with each one featuring a personalised watercolour by Tusquets on the title page.