Feeling blue! Hull stages strip show in the name of art

Thousands of people have stripped and been painted blue as they starred in a huge installation to celebrate Hull's relationship with the sea.

The participants at the Hull arts event.
The participants at the Hull arts event.

Hull City Council said 3,200 people took part in the event - the largest of its kind ever to be staged in the UK by New York-based artist Spencer Tunick.

Tunick’s Sea of Hull installation involved participants from 20 countries, including American Stephane Janssen, 80, who has posed for him on 20 previous occasions.

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The hundreds who gathered at dawn were daubed with four shades of blue body paint in celebration of Hull’s maritime heritage and then posed for a series of site specific installations around some of the city’s best known historic locations.

The participants at the Hull arts event.

These included the former Queens Dock, now a city centre park, the Guildhall and the award-winning Scale Lane swing bridge over the River Hull.

Tunick’s latest work has been commissioned by Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery.

It will be one of the highlights of the gallery’s programme in 2017, when Hull is UK City of Culture.

The council said Saturday’s turnout is the largest number of participants taking part in any of Tunick’s previous UK artworks, beating Gateshead in 2005 and Salford in 2010.

The participants at the Hull arts event.

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 backdrop 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.”

Curator of art for Ferens Art Gallery Kirsten Simister 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.”

Martin Green, chief executive 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 of an exciting exhibition.”Fee