Controversial. Unexpected. Simple and yet complex. This is how I would characterize Spencer’s Tunick art, in a nutshell.
Tunick gathers large groups of people in (famous) public spaces and squares and visually plays with the shapes, colors and textures of their naked bodies. People are set in different places – from deserts to city centres, from river banks or beaches to industrial areas.
Tunick’s philosophy is that “individuals en masse, without their clothing, grouped together, metamorphose into a new shape. The bodies extend into and upon the landscape like a substance. These grouped masses which do not underscore sexuality become abstractions that challenge or reconfigure one’s views of nudity and privacy.”- Spencer Tunick catalogue. Artnet.com (September 17, 2011)
Since 1992, when he started this life-long project, Tunick was arrested 5 times in NY, so he took his works to Europe.
The result is more than more than an unexpected visual: human tessellations that complement the architecture setting where the “installation” takes place.
The images haunt you, make you stop and think – just like any good pieces of art should.
People are fragile beings, living in huge herds, yet being lonely and afraid. Tunick’s art speaks volumes about the vulnerability of human beings. His works are not either about sexuality or about community , but rather expressions of the nature vs. culture paradigm.
He is a frequent participant at the Burning Man Festival. This year people posed under some sort of transparent garment – thus symbolizing spiritual entities.
HBO produced 2 documentaries, Naked States and Naked World about Spencer’s art and his logistics struggles– gathering the volunteers, avoiding the troubles with authorities, etc.
What a feeling it must be to be naked with thousands of other people, a living, unque, beautiful organism constructed by all of you…Here is a short film about the experience of doing a nude photo in public space in Mexico, both from the perspective of Tunick and the one of the model.
If you want to grasp part of the thoughts of Spencer, here’s an interview with him.