The photographer famed for his large-scale photo shoots of naked people will be coming to Colombia’s capital, Bogota, to organize a nude ‘performance’, in which over a thousand people will strip down and pose for the artist.
Spencer Tunick, a native New Yorker who has traveled the world and created some 75 human installations, is expecting more than 1200 people to volunteer for his photograph in Bogota.
“For me a mass of bodies is a pure entity, the concept of the fight against the external world, proof of equality and of working in unison against corruption,” Tunick told newspaper El Tiempo.
“You and me, we fuse together with the others and with the mass, then you’re no longer you as an individual, but part of everyone,” said one of the 18,000 volunteers during the 2007 ‘performance’ in Mexico City, in the country’s most important square, the Zocalo. Tunick had never used so many volunteers.
“The [Mexican] government helped me with the security and the sound,” he said. “They told me that they understood the importance of the art and the security of those involved. The viewed it as a gift for their citizens.”
The performance in Mexico City and the help provided by the government was a far cry from his first nude pictures in New York in 1992. Two years later he photographed 30 naked people outside of the United Nations building; they were all arrested.
In Tunick’s photographs the individual naked bodies lose their distinct shapes and metamorphose into a “substance” draped around the space.
“My work is about how to use the body as an abstracted object and to have the ability to make art in a public space in contact with thousands of people,” he said. “For me, a free body can change the world.”
Indeed, when Tunick went to Chile in 2002, one of the most conservative countries in Latin America, he ended up creating a national debate about government control over the body.
“Around 200 people were demonstrating against my work opposite the hotel,” said Tunick. “I went out and filmed them, without them realizing that it was me.”
After the work, which involved some 5000 people stripping off in the middle of winter in the capital, Santiago, Tunick was named one of the people of the year in Chile.
“After [the performance], there was a public debate about control over the body, about why no organization nor government can control the body,” he said.
“I believe that a society that views the naked body as if it were something violent or criminal is not a healthy society. The body has to have a space into to exist as art. It is pure, natural, like the rivers, trees or the flowers.”
Tunick has been commissioned by cities all around the world, including Barcelona, Munich, Sydney, Rome, Vienna, and Basel. In Latin America – where he enjoys working because of the special “energy” that the people bring to the photos – in addition to Mexico and Chile, he has worked in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
But next year’s work will represent his first large-scale photo shoot in Colombia. He told El Tiempo that he has already chosen the site in Bogota where the performance will take place, but would not reveal it.
Spencer Tunick in Chile, 2002
Spencer Tunick (Wikipedia)