Tunick’s previous locations have been perhaps more glamorous – he famously photographed hundreds of naked people in front of and inside the Sydney Opera House, as well as a series in and around the Dead Sea.
Now he is coming to Munich with a new project inspired by Wagner’s Ring Cycle, to coincide with the opening weekend of the city’s Opera Festival on 23 and 24 June.
Tunick is looking for at least 1,000 people to take part and pose naked for him in front of the National Theatre and in other locations in the city.
He said he was looking for “normal people… students, musicians, librarians, bricklayers,” adding, “Tunick is in Munich – get your kit off!”
The famous photographer was approached by the Bavarian State Opera to design a “visual element” for this year’s production, and agreed, having long been interested by the idea of a ring-shaped installation.
Tunick admitted that the country’s troubled history was also artistically attractive. “Whenever I have the chance to work in Germany, I seize it,” he said in an interview.
“I love Germans, but at the same time I’m horrified by the past. I want to take on that history.”
Nikolaus Bachler, the Opera’s director, said the decision to approach Tunick was an obvious one. “As well as song, Andreas Kriegenburg’s production relies above all on the scenic and gestural body movements of the actors. So it was natural to show these two projects alongside each other,” he explained.
Tunick’s unusual career path began in 1994 when he photographed 28 naked people in front of the United Nations building in New York. He has since photographed nude groups of up to 18,000 people on five different continents.
This will be his second such assignment in Germany after a 2006 project at the Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf.
Tunick said the reaction to his art in each country could be seen as a barometer for the openness of that society.
“The governments that let me work in their countries are at least half way on the right track,” he explained. “Respect for the human body goes hand in hand with human rights.”