Spencer Tunick’s latest creation the ‘Sea of Hull’ installation has taken place, Saturday 9 July. This represents the largest number of participants overtaking any of his previous UK artworks, beating Gateshead in 2005 and Salford in 2010. 3,200 people from Hull and across the world stripped nude and painted themselves blue and green to be a participant. People from 20 countries registered to take part.
Wearing nothing but four shades of body paint in celebration of the city’s rich maritime heritage and connections, people braved the weather to pose nude for a series of site specific installations stages across some of Hull’s best-known historic locations: from the former Queens Dock, now a city centre park, to the architecturally spectacular Guildhall and the award-winning Scale Lane swing bridge over the River Hull.
Tunick’s exciting new body of work commissioned by the Ferens Art Gallery will be one of the highlights of the gallery’s programme in 2017, when Hull is UK City of Culture. It is the first major commission to be announced for 2017 and builds on the Ferens Art Gallery’s increasingly ambitious programme of acquisitions and exhibitions.
Internationally renowned artist, Spencer Tunick, said: “The Sea of Hull installation was one of the most fantastic projects I’ve ever done, and it was inspiring to be able to intertwine the city’s maritime heritage against an urban back-drop throughout the whole piece.
“The photo incorporates some of the city’s unique locations including the architectural steel structured masterpiece that is Scale Lane Bridge, framed by Georgian and Victorian buildings adding to the striking shots captured during the installation.
“It’s always wonderful to see the various sized people covered in paint walking through the streets of a city I admire. I’m looking forward to the exhibition of my final works made here in Hull, in the spring of 2017.”
Councillor Terry Geraghty, Hull City Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, said: “Since the launch in March we have been overwhelmed by the levels of interest and excitement Spencer’s work has generated and we are absolutely delighted by the turn out today.
“Spencer Tunick has worked in many cities across the world from Montreal to Melbourne and Barcelona to Buenos Aires. We are delighted that we can now add Hull to the artist’s fantastic list of landmark locations.”
Kirsten Simister, Curator of Art for Ferens Art Gallery, said: “When we announced this back in March we were excited but we had no idea how many people here would respond. It took off like a rocket from day one with an overwhelming number of people signing up and we are delighted to see how Spencer has brought them together today to create some remarkable new images and unforgettable memories for themselves.
“The newly commissioned work will take pride of place as part of a major exhibition at the newly refurbished Ferens Art Gallery during 2017, when Hull is host to the UK City of Culture celebrations and will be purchased for the Ferens permanent collection as a legacy for the city and its people.”
Martin Green, CEO and Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, said: “Spencer Tunick is the first major artistic commission to be announced for 2017. The team at the Ferens Art Gallery have worked incredibly hard to bring this world-class artist to Hull, adding to the excitement of it being UK City of Culture.
“It’s also a fantastic opportunity for people locally and further afield to be involved ahead of 2017 and I can’t wait to see the resulting images when they are unveiled at the gallery next year as part an exciting exhibition.”
The Ferens Art Gallery aims to showcase the very highest possible quality historic and contemporary art and is a key part of the UK’s visual offering. The Spencer Tunick Sea of Hull installation was secured using the Ferens Endowment Fund.