Humberside

Sea of Hull nudes to be flagship City of Culture exhibition

People nude and painted blue standing in Alfred Guilder Street Image copyright Reuters
Image caption More than 3,000 participants from around the world braved chilly summer weather for four hours to take part in the photo shoot

An exhibition showing thousands of blue nudes in Hull has been announced as the City of Culture's flagship exhibition.

Artist Spencer Tunick photographed 3,200 people at locations around Hull on 9 July for the Sea of Hull project.

The photos will be displayed alongside major works by Lucien Freud and Ron Mueck in the Ferens Art Gallery's SKIN exhibition from 22 April.

Sea of Hull featured people from around the world and is said to be the largest nude installation in the UK.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Scale Lane bridge, off High Street, was one of the locations

The models were painted blue to represent water.

New York-based Mr Tunick said he noted shades of blue from various maritime paintings at the Ferens gallery during a scouting trip in 2015 and made them into body paint.

He said: "By bringing the colours of the Ferens' canvases into the streets and on to the bodies, I was able to successfully realize my vision of recreating the lost waterways of Hull with the brilliant and vibrant colours of the water."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption People from all over the UK and 20 other countries joined local participants to pose for Tunick

Ferens' art curator Kirsten Simister said the SKIN exhibition examines how the nude continues to fascinate and inspire artists.

She said it was a "very exciting, long-awaited moment" which had been planned for four years.

"The idea for SKIN was developed at the time of the bid for UK City of Culture and it's incredibly exciting to see this vision now becoming a reality," Ms Simister said.

"SKIN acts as a major centrepiece for the year and through a variety of partnerships we have secured works of the very highest quality.

Image copyright Hull City Council
Image caption Around 100 Sea of Hull participants returned to the Ferens gallery for the launch of the SKIN exhibition
Image copyright Hull City Council
Image caption Sea of Hull participants pose beneath the turbine blade in Queen Victoria Square for the SKIN launch
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Media captionSpencer Tunick explains why he got people to strip naked
Image caption Alfred Gelder Street was a sea of blue nude bodies on 9 July

Since reopening following refurbishment in January, Ms Simister said footfall at the Ferens had risen from 10,000 to 92,000 when compared to January and February 2016.

Hull City Council said visitor numbers at the city's other attractions had also increased.

SKIN is a free exhibition at the Ferens from 22 April to 13 August.

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