Spencer Tunick returns to Melbourne for PROVOCARÉ Festival of the Arts

Spencer Tunick Desert Spirits 1.1 (Nevada) 2013Internationally renowned contemporary artist, Spencer Tunick, is returning to Melbourne this July to create two days of dramatic nude installations as the headline artist of Chapel Street’s PROVOCARÉ Festival of the Arts.

Tunick is inviting brave Australians to register now to be part of his provocative new works at provocare.com.au/tunick. The participants will feature in two days of major installations and will receive a limited-edition print of the artwork they are part of.

The project will be a welcome return for Tunick, who last stunned Melbournians in 2001 with his first Australian installation, called The Unfamiliar Familiar. The success of this installation then gave rise to his second Australian visit, 2010’s equally memorable The Base, on the steps of The Sydney Opera House.

“Chapel Street reminds me of the East Village in New York, Sunset Strip in LA, and San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, but all combined into one juggernaut,” said Tunick on the opportunity to work with the unique precinct of Melbourne. “I think people from Melbourne are a little braver because of their willingness to pose no matter the weather. I get a sense of resilience and risk taking.”

As the headlining artist of PROVOCARÉ Festival of the Arts, Chapel Street Precinct will be transformed into a provocative world of captivating art, music, and theatre during the winter month of July. Spencer Tunick’s 2018 Melbourne installation will be called, Return of the Nude – to emphasise that everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of age, race, gender, ability, or body shape.

This, in part, is why Spencer has decided to name his latest creation the Return of the Nude. “While it’s me bringing my art back to a city full of fond memories, it’s also the return of the body as a pure sculptural entity.” The artist hopes to remove the idea of the body depicted as a glorified celebrity, where social media has perverted the nude form.

PROVOCARÉ Festival Director John Lotton is thrilled to host Return of the Nude as the centrepiece of the festival. “Spencer Tunick’s work will be a stellar headline piece for PROVOCARÉ 2018, his contemporary and immersive artistic vision is truly unique,” said Lotton.

“Over two days, Spencer will direct hundreds of Melbournians while using Chapel Street as his canvas. As the name suggests, this is a provocative and challenging festival of the arts, and you will certainly need to release your inhibitions to participate in this experience, which has been described as “tribal” by past participants.”

“The art event will go ahead no matter what the weather is like on the day. If you’re worried about the cold, don’t be, because participants will not be naked for long periods of time. You must be 18 years or over to participate,” commented Chapel Street’s Events & Marketing Director Chrissie Maus.

Spencer Tunick was born in Middletown, New York and currently lives in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley. He is widely celebrated as a contemporary artist for his candid and elaborately posed installations of multiple nude figures in public settings. Tunick often gathers hundreds and thousands of participants to take part in his artistic vision, which has taken place across the globe in a celebration of the live human body as an art object in public space.

While Tunick’s work is a celebration of the human body, it is also taking it away from the idea of celebrity perfection and the commodification of it through social media. Tunick’s previous work has attempted to challenge the traditionally held views of nudity and privacy, as well as the social and politically held views surrounding art in the public sphere. Tunick has also been the topic of two HBO Feature Documentaries, Naked States (2000) and Naked World (2003).

The 2018 PROVOCARÉ Festival of the Arts runs 5 – 15 July. For more information, and to register for Spencer Tunick’s Return of the Nude, visit: www.provocare.com.au for details.

Image: Spencer Tunick, Desert Spirits 1.1 (Nevada), 2013