Spencer Tunick to turn Brisbane’s Story Bridge nude in 2024


The American artist Spencer Tunick is dressed in a black shirt. He is photographed in front of the backdrop of the Brisbane city skyline and the Story Bridge.
Image: Jay Cull

Spencer Tunick will return to Brisbane in 2024 to bring his nude artwork to the iconic Story Bridge as part of Melt Open. He spoke to QNews about his work and how it’ll celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Spencer Tunick can’t get enough of Brisbane.

Following his first work in the city this weekend, he has announced his return in 2024 for an even more ambitious installation.

The American artist is known for his photographic work of nudity in natural and urban landscapes across the world.

The works in 2023 and 2024 make up the two-part series The first features 150 people posing nude along the river as part of Brisbane Powerhouse’s LGBTQIA+ MELT Festival.

The second piece in 2024 will unquestionably be bigger and bolder. Thousands of live nude people will gather on Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge on Sunday 27 October.

The work will be a celebration of diversity, equity, inclusion and Brisbane’s vibrant LGBTQIA+ community during Melt Open.

Melt Open is born from the success of Brisbane Powerhouse’s MELT Festival, which is currently celebrating its seventh year. The new event will be an open-access festival with artists and cultural events throughout central Brisbane.

The LGBTQIA+ connection

We asked Spencer why his work aligns so well with the LGBTQIA+ community.

“I guess it’s a way that the community can be free. They’re doing something that might normally not be allowed and there’s a window of freedom that exists within the time,” he said.

“I think everyone’s looking for a reason to go beyond their limits and hopefully, they use me as a catalyst and my art as a catalyst for for that.”

Spencer has connections to the LGBTQIA+ community through his family “of many genders” which he’s used as inspiration for the work.

“The series will hopefully speak to diverse groups of people, and everyone navigating their way through the difficult challenges of our current world.  It is a privilege to be making art that centers around the LGBTQIA+ community with all its beauty and vibrance.”

The river

Because of a lack of appropriate open spaces, Spencer was  drawn to the river for his installations in Brisbane.

“I think by continuing my relationship with the concrete world versus the natural world, I’ve chosen works close to the river that juxtapose flesh architecture to the environment,” he explains.

The first work is about creating an otherworldly type, feeling as if the people are sort of approaching a new world, a new land, that maybe has new beginnings and changing old traditions.”

“The work in 2024 will be about sort of being escaping the whale. The works inside the bridge is sort of people are inside the belly of the whale, and then of course, they exit the belly of the whale, which will be exiting the Story Bridge and in a way that exit will be like you’re set free.”

Getting Brisbane nude

His work has featured across the globe and he explains that more conservative societies, tend to see more volunteers.

“I find that where it’s harder to be nude, more people participate,” he says. 

However, Spencer doesn’t relate that to Australia where he has found that locals here embrace getting their kit off for art.

He cleverly plays off the competitive nature between our cities with a call for people to volunteer in Brisbane.

“The big project to see if Brisbane is as open minded as Melbourne and Sydney and we hope that we can gather enough people to to attempt to fill up the Story Bridge.”

His previous works in Australia saw 5,000 people assemble in front of the Sydney Opera House for Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. While there were also other large crowds for installations at Bondi Beach and in Melbourne.

How to volunteer

Volunteers are needed to take part in next year’s epic and extraordinary event. There are no limits on those who can take part.

Every type of person and body type is welcome in this piece that is all about celebrating Brisbane’s diversity.

Spencer is encouraging of those who may be thinking registering their interest.

“It’s an opportunity for people to shed their inhibitions to come together as a community to make an artwork that is a little bit surreal,” he says.

“I think everyone’s looking for a reason to go beyond their limits. Hopefully, they use me as a catalyst and my art as a catalyst for for that.”

You can register your interest to take part in the Story Bridge installation at: brisbanepowerhouse.org/spencertunick 

 

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Dale Roberts

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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