This is it: your last chance to see Spencer Tunick’s rather marvellous exhibition at The Lowry – it closes this Sunday (26 Sept). This is a show that’s got it all: naked people, buses, a bit of industrial architecture, Concorde, even a reference to Salford’s own creative son, L.S. Lowry. Blogger Peter Carroll explains why you should make time to see it…
The steel grey sky of Manchester provides a powerful setting for Spencer Tunick’s story of identity, self-image and the role of the individual. Here lies a colourful patchwork of humanity that echoes, in the brief click of a camera shutter, a shared consciousness. Manipulated? Certainly. Contrived? Possibly. However, Tunick’s eye has captured the zeitgeist of this great city and the spirit of the people that make it so. Here, the past meets a braver new world: the urban shakes hands with the urbane, the organic confronts the inorganic. Here, harsh industrial landscape, vibrant architecture and aircraft hangar hold a torch to human potential.
At times there is a cheery injection of L.S. Lowry-meets-saucy-seaside-postcard in the work, while an ironic reference to our overcrowded transport system will doubtless raise a smile. However, Tunick’s use of space and pose is always carefully and cleverly orchestrated. There is nothing haphazard about his work. These are directed masterpieces that shed light on our very sense of being. Tunick guides the observer around a carefully constructed pathway of self-analysis. The symbiotic relationship that we have with each other, nature and the space that we share is powerfully imagined. Tunick’s work is about our need to belong and yet be free, to conform and yet throw caution to the wind. Somehow, the nakedness of the people in the images lays bare both the strengths and vulnerabilities that we all possess. It is no gimmick. Spencer Tunick’s work works because it is just as much about the participants as it is about the visual outcome. It is, as always, about the truth and not the cover.
Image: Installation view, Everyday People: Spencer Tunick at The Lowry, photo by Heidy Elainne