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Spencer Tunick - Mardi Gras : The Base - Sydney Opera House

By Sean Lynch

Spencer Tunick Sydney

Spencer Tunick's "Mardi Gras : The Base"

spencer tunick

Nudity. We all love it, we all do it - some more than others, that person : Paris Hilton - but what goes through the minds of those who get up at 5am to nude up on the steps of Sydney's most famous landmark The Opera House in the name of art?

Internationally renowned artist Spencer Tunick returned to Australia, this time to bring his unique form of art to the Sydney Opera House as part of Sydney's 2010 Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. 

An open invitation was sent out to thrill seekers of the world (gay, straight, big or small) to be part of Tunick's latest nude art installation titled "Mardi Gras : The Base" - and boy, did Sydney respond!

Over 5200 men and women of all shapes, sizes - and ages - turned out on Monday March 1st 2010 at the Sydney Opera House at sunrise to be part of the biggest Australian installation of Spencer Tunick's career.

His previous Aussie effort, in Melbourne, managed just over 4700 nude volunteers.

Tunick (born January 1, 1967) is best known for his photographic artworks that feature large numbers of nude people posed in various artistic formations. 

These "installations" are often situated in urban locations throughout the world, although some of his most impressive pieces have included native woodlands and beach installations.

He also puts together the occasional, but slightly more creepy, individual and small group nude photos too.

Spencer Tunick's first naked portrait was in 1986, when he visited London and photographed a nude at a bus stop, as well as scores of nudes in Alleyn's School's Lower School Hall in Dulwich, Southwark. 

By 1994, Tunick had organised and photographed over 65 temporary site related installations worldwide.

He has since taken his nude artform internationally, with photos taken in cities as far and wide as Dublin, Bruges, Buenos Aires, Buffalo, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Melbourne, Montreal, Rome, Newcastle/Gateshead, Vienna, Düsseldorf, Helsinki, Santiago, Amsterdam, on the Aletsch Glacier and in Mexico City (in which a record 18,000 people turned out in force... and in the nude).

"Mardi Gras : The Base" called on all Australians interested in taking part to register at www.mardigras.org.au/tunick to reserve a place, selling it as "the highlight of this year's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival". 

Participation in the art installation was open to all Australians, regardless of sexuality - and judging by the results (only 2000 were originally expected) it was a resounding success.

"After visiting Sydney in 2009 I fell in love with its diverse people and architecture and am honoured to show this amazing city off to the world, especially from the base of such an iconic location" said Tunick. 

"The base, the core, the heart of any truly free society depends on its acceptance of its diverse community as equal citizens.  I found this in abundance on my last trip to Sydney when I witnessed the city’s inhabitants celebrate Mardi Gras" he continued.

"Whether they were straight or gay, I found the people of Sydney to be truly remarkable" Tunick concluded.

Nude enthusiasts lined up from 5am for the shoot in various positions (which included full frontal, bums facing the camera, lying down and even embracing the person next to them), with the process finishing just after 8:30am.

Sign Up For Future Spencer Tunick Artworks at www.spencertunick.com 

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