Public Interventions will be Spencer Tunick’s first gallery show in 10 years and features new and unseen work.
Tunick defies genres and transforms public spaces with temporary monuments of people rewriting the locations through their complex, organic compositions; they are figurative yet abstract, inherently public, and deeply intimate: they depict sincere unity and wild differences. The photographs are simultaneously painterly, sculptural, and installations.
Spencer Tunick staged his first depictions of nude bodies in urban landscapes in nineties
In Public Interventions, the selection of pieces reflects the artist’s work with abstraction, adornment, traditional group portraiture and the “body without clothing.” Reflex is proud to present Tunick’s first solo exhibition in the Netherlands and the first with the gallery, which includes new and unseen works.
Spencer Tunick staged his first depictions of nude bodies in urban landscapes in nineties New York. Despite public nudity being legal, the city government arrested the artist. This demanded an action plan that worked like a Swiss clock to avoid trouble with the police.
While nudity was a provocative spectacle in the early works, the artist merely perceives it as “the body without clothing.” Consider the hundreds of painted blue bodies in the Sea of Hull, which transforms an anonymous street into an abstract display of a (human) body of water traversing through the city. Nudity is a prop similar to other effects such as fabric, paint, or solar lights; it energetically activates the space.
If any genre applies to Spencer Tunick’s oeuvre, it is that of the group photograph. Tunick gathers thousands of people, orchestrating their positions with great care. In a time where being photographed nude is a common practice, Tunick elevates the genre to create a meeting point between contemporary art and its audience. This is evident in Columbia, where the gilded environment is brimming with people at every corner of the frame. However, each seated person has their back turned to the stage, glaring straight at the camera and eventually gazing at the audience of the photograph. The boundaries between spectated and the spectator becomes blurred as Tunick reveals the complex relationships inherent to photography: the memorialization of a group becomes an elec
The masses of bodies – what the artist calls “the body in multiple” – is an undeniably captivating feature of Tunick’s practice. Bodo Bodyscape is an ode to this phenomenon, as human bodies are folded over a hillside overlooking a small Norwegian city at the break of dawn. Each person is holding a solar light in their outstretched arms, mirroring the city lights in the background. Tunick utilizes the body as his organic material to create transient sculptures in natural environments as a piece of land art. In a trend that traverses his entire career, he plays carefully on oppositions between public and private and organic and synthetic. Ultimately, Tunick turns cities into bodies, bodies into cities, and renders the familiar unprecedented enchanting.
Spencer Tunick (USA, New York, 1967) is a Contemporary artist-photographer renowned for his colossal nude shoots and human installations worldwide. Tunick attended Emerson College in Boston, MA, in 1988 and the International Center of Photography, NY, in 1990.
Reflex Amsterdam represents over 30 contemporary artists. Next to this, the gallery has long-standing expertise in sourcing works in both primary and secondary markets. Alongside its six annual exhibitions, the gallery is specialized in producing books, prints, and exclusive limited editions in close collaboration with its artists. In addition, the gallery provides tailored guidance to private and public collectors to build substantial and international art collections, offering services from curatorial advice to supporting the creation of entire interiors according to collectors’ wishes. Founded as a family business in 1986, Reflex Amsterdam has built a new program attracting a range of international artists since 2003. The second space opened in September 2021.
The gallery’s second location in Amsterdam, Reflex, the Residence, is conceived as a multifunctional space to promote the creation, research, and contemplation of art and is a one-of-a-kind endeavour in the Dutch gallery landscape. The gallery sketches its new venue as “a space to expand the current activities of the gallery, a place of creation and experiment, a house of art.” Formerly a residential home, the space has been repurposed to suit various needs. Outfitted with a high ceiling that supersedes two stories, it allows for a breathtaking spatial experience of three-dimensional art and large-scale paintings in a residential setting, making it a natural location for the gallery’s private showroom. The new space will also be used to exhibit more experimental shows that blur the lines between artistic disciplines.
Top Photo: Courtesy of the Artist © Spencer Tunick
Spencer Tunick | Public Interventions
From 17 September 2022 Reflex Amsterdam, Weteringschans 79A 1017RX Amsterdam, The Netherlands. +31 (0)20 627 28 32