On Friday, one of Spencer Tunick’s original pictures from the art project ‘Bodø Bodyscape’ will once again be unveiled in Bodø, Norway. That happens on the one-year anniversary of Bodø’s being appointed European Capital of Culture 2024.
CEO of local developer Hundholmen byutvikling Morten Jakhelln has bought a print of the original image that was taken on Ramnfloget mountain just above Bodø city center by the well-known American artist Spencer Tunick.
Acting Manager of the Bodø2024 - European Capitol of Culture 2024 - committee Henrik Sand Dagfinrud will have the honor of formally unveiling the picture.
The exhibiting of the picture is not formally a part of Bodø 2024, but is considered a gift to the people of Bodø. The picture will be displayed in Jakhelln’s new development project Ramsalt, which is located in Sjøgata street in Bodø city centre.
175 naked people, not all of them local, answered the call rom the American artist in August 2018.
"One year after Bodø was appointed the ECoC2024 status, this is a nice retrospective for the past year", Dagfinrud says to High North News.
Back to the people
City developer Morten Jakhelln is an art collector and decided early on to stay in touch with Tunick after the Bodø Bodyscape project had come to an end.
“To me, this picture is a cultural, historic memorial worth preserving, and I want to make it available for people in Bodø”, Jakhelln says to High North News.
He is particularly happy that the unveiling could take place on the one-day anniversary for Bodø 2024.
Wants people to engage
“I thought it would be good to create a wall for this picture that is highly visible with lights and all in what is to be come the new promenade in this part of town.”
“Art should stir debate and engagement, and there were plenty of reactions when the images disappeared. [The pictures from the project were publicly available throughout Bodø city center for a limited time period after the project, upon which they were removed and destroyed, according to the contract with the artist, ed.note.] So I am glad this one can be made available again”, says Jakhelln.
He looks forward to Friday’s unveiling ceremony.
He will nevertheless not reveal the price for the picture.
Art should stir debate and engagement
Photographer Morten Krogvold, Bodø municipality Head of Culture Arne Vinje and Bodø Mayor Ida PInnerød have been invited to say a few words about the controversial picture.
“Bodø Bodyscape” was originally commissioned in relation to the Bodø Biennale art festival 2018 as a piece of performance art.
The use of public funding was criticized and the ensuing debate covered both money spent as well as the conditions in the contract between Tunick and the county.
Nordland County granted NOK 300,000 to the photo project, and Bodø municipality did exactly the same. The costs reached a total of NOK 615,000. In addition, the County waived all rights and covered all additional costs.
Bodø in the world
After the exhibition, the photos were destroyed according to the agreement with the artist, who pointed out that the art lay in its performance, not in the images themselves.
There was much debate about the pictures last year, in particular after they were destroyed. What do you think about Bodø Bodyscape now returning to Bodø?
“Like I said, Hundholmen byutvikling has acquired the rights to this picture and has invited Bodø 2024 to the unveiling event”, Dagfinrud says.
That said, he argues that it is important to lift one’s gaze and see Bodø and the ECoC2024 from an international perspective.
“To me, culture is about having somebody to be reflected in, showing us our place in the world. That means we have to invite ourselves into an international context. Such projects help Bodø position itself internationally and make Bodø 2024 the EU’s largest cultural project.”
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.