Spanish artist Francesc Ruiz taps into Vauxhall’s gay scene

10 Dec

Spanish artist Francesc Ruiz’s first solo exhibition in London is creating quite a stir down in Vauxhall, where parental discretion has been advised.

Francesc Ruiz, Gasworks Yaoi, 2010

Inspired by Japanese manga culture, and most specifically the male homoerotica of yaoi comic books, Ruiz’s Gasworks Yaoi exhibition has transformed the gallery into a comic bookshop. Rather than being male-oriented, these comics, translated as ‘boys love’ are traditionally produced and read by women. They are less a form of pornography, more harmless accounts of titillation and voyeurism from women fascinated by homosexuality.

The Gasworks gallery-cum-bookshop

Vauxhall’s longstanding gay establishments provided Ruiz with the perfect setting for his 4,000 yaoi comics that feature at Gasworks. In them he has created a fictional version of yaoi where female illustrators portray encounters between gay men in Vauxhall’s sprawling gay club scene. The colourful medium of yaoi has allowed Ruiz to exaggerate popular clichés around sexuality and gay lifestyle.

Born in Barcelona in 1971, Ruiz has had artwork displayed in New York, Philadelphia and across Spain.

Yaoi in Vauxhall's gay scene, Francesc Ruiz, Gasworks Yaoi, 2010

Anna Colin, Exhibitions Curator at Gasworks, said: “The exhibition has been really well received since the opening night two weeks ago. We’ve already had about 500 people visit. We’ve introduced lots of foreign artists to the London scene before, but this exhibition is so fresh, it makes it really exciting for us. It’s a saucy, vibrant, colourful and cheeky view at sexuality through fiction.”

And if one of Ruiz’s erotic comic books particularly tickles your fancy, Gasworks are selling them for just £1 each. The exhibition runs until 23rd January. You might want to hurry before the display is all sold out.

Images: Gasworks

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