From September 17, a solo exhibition by the American photographer Spencer Tunick can be seen in Reflex Amsterdam. With Public Interventions, the gallery shows new and unprecedented work by the visual artist known worldwide for his colossal nude photography and human installations in urban and natural settings.
The exhibition at Reflex Amsterdam reflects on Spencer Tunick’s work, which is characterized by abstraction, traditional group portraits and the ‘body without clothes’. It is the first time that the artist exhibits in a Dutch gallery. The American will therefore be present at the opening.
Spencer Tunick defies all art disciplines. He transforms public spaces by placing temporary monuments of people. For a moment, these places are redefined thanks to complex and organic compositions. These compositions are figurative yet abstract, public, extremely intimate and depict true unity and diversity. Tunick’s photographs are also paintings, sculptures and installations at the same time.
Nudity as a prop
The artist staged his first photographs of naked bodies in urban landscapes in 1990s New York. Despite public nudity being legal, Tunick was still arrested. Nudity was a provocative sight in his early works, but the artist sees it only as ‘the body without clothes’. As with the hundreds of painted blue bodies in his work Sea of Hull, which transforms an anonymous street into an abstract body of water flowing through the city. Nudity is a prop, like fabric, paint or sun lamps; it activates the room in an energetic way.
Spectacular group photos
If there is one genre that applies to Spencer Tunick’s oeuvre, it is the group photo. Tunick gathers sometimes thousands of people and carefully orchestrates their positions. At a time when it is common practice to be photographed naked, Tunick takes the genre to the next level. He creates a meeting place for contemporary art and its audience. This can be clearly seen in Colombia, where the venue is packed and filled with people in every corner of the frame. Capturing a group becomes an exciting, dynamic moment.
The masses of bodies – what the artist calls “the body in multiples” – are an undeniably fascinating element in Tunick’s working method. Bodø Bodyscape is an ode to this phenomenon. Human bodies are folded over a hill, overlooking a small Norwegian town. Each person holds a solar-powered lamp in their outstretched arms, reflecting the city lights in the background. Tunick uses the body as an organic material to create temporary sculptures in natural environments. He plays with contrasts between public & private and organic & artificial. Ultimately, Tunick turns cities into bodies and bodies into cities. He also makes the familiar unbelievably enchanting.
About the artist
Spencer Tunick (1967) lives and works in New York. He was educated at Emerson College in Boston and the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York. His installations have been commissioned by the XXV Biennale of São Paulo, Institut de Cultura de Barcelona, Saatchi Gallery in London, Museum of Contemporary Art (moCa) Cleveland, Kunsthalle Wien and MAMBO, Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá, among others .
Spencer Tunick | Public interventions
17 September – 1 November 2022
All images © Spencer Tunick, courtesy of Reflex Amsterdam gallery