3 Hull UK City of Culture exhibitions that you should visit
- Credit: Lee Beel/Alamy Live News
The Hull UK City of Culture celebrations build momentum with a series of major art events
An exhibition of photographs showing thousands of nudes painted blue is one of the most talked about events of Hull UK City of Culture. The city’s Ferens Art Gallery’s Sea of Hull commission by American artist Spencer Tunick which took place last summer, was officially the largest nude installation in the UK.
He photographed more than 3,200 people who painted their skin four shades of blue in celebration of Hull’s rich maritime history. They posed in a series of historic sites across the city including the former Queen’s Dock, now a city centre park and the award-winning Scale Lane swing bridge over the River Hull.
Tunick photographs are displayed alongside major works by Lucien Freud and Ron Mueck as part of the Ferens Gallery’s SKIN exhibition which examines how the subject of the nude continues to fascinate and inspire artists.
Tunick said: ‘By bringing the colours of the Ferens’ canvases into the streets and onto the bodies I was able to successfully realise my vision of recreating the lost waterways of Hull with the brilliant and vibrant colours of the water.’
The artist said at the time he created the work: ‘The Sea of Hull installation was one of the most fantastic projects I have ever done. It was inspiring to intertwine the city’s maritime heritage against an urban backdrop throughout the whole piece. It is always wonderful to see the various sized people covered in paint walking through the streets of a city I admire. I am looking forward to the exhibition of my final works made here in Hull in the spring of 2017.’
Kirsten Simister, curator of art at Ferens, said the idea for SKIN was developed at the time of the bid for UK City of Culture and it was incredibly exciting to see this vision now becoming a reality.
She added: ‘SKIN acts as a major centrepiece for the year and through a variety of partnerships we have secured works of the very highest quality. We hope to attract new audiences building on the success of the Hockney and Warhol exhibitions we staged prior to our refurbishment and since the reopening in January.
SKIN particularly resonates with one of the UK City of Culture’s themes, Freedom. What is freedom if not to be at home in one’s own body? And how much freedom is allowed if we want to explore nakedness in art? This is the kind of question we want to pose to our audiences through the exhibition.’
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Work from the art gallery’s permanent collection will also be on display as part of the exhibition including 20th century naked portraits from Stanley Spencer’s painting of his second wife Nude, Portrait of Patricia Preece (1935) to John Coplan’s photographic Self Portrait Upside Down (1992).
The exhibition is at Ferens until Sunday, August 13th. Entry is free. Opening times: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 11am – 4.30pm. It is also open until 7.30pm every Thursday.
Never to be forgotten
This is the Weeping Window, an art installation made of several thousand handmade ceramic poppies seen pouring to the ground from the top of the Maritime Museum in Hull.
The sculpture, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper was created to mark the centenary of World War One and was originally at the Tower of London in 2014. Each poppy in the display represented the deaths of 888,246 suffered by British forces during the 1914-18 war.
The Maritime Museum is perhaps he most fitting building in Hull for this artwork. It was once used as the city’s Dock Offices and survived the bombings of two world wars. And it was outside the building in Queen Victoria Square that the Hull Pals were recruited to fight the First World War, victories were celebrated and funeral processions passed its doors, including that of the E13 British submarine crew killed in neutral Danish waters in 1915.
The poppies are on a UK tour which ends in 2018 and will then have a permanent home at the Imperial War Museum. The installation at the Maritime Museum runs until May 29th
The Maritime Museum features in a second celebration called Offshore: artists explore the sea, also part of the UK City of Culture 2017 festival and the first joint exhibition with the city’s newly re-opened Ferens Art Gallery.
More than 20 art works that explore a wide range of ideas from threats to corals to myths of sea monsters as well as Hull’s maritime heritage, are split across the Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Maritime Museum.
One of the works included is a new commission by Dutch artists Bik van del Pol, made directly in response to Rembrandt van Rijn’s celebrated painting The Shipbuilder and his Wife (1633), which is on display at Ferens Art Gallery until August 28th. This is the very first time a painting by Rembrandt has been brought to Hull.
Curator Alice Sharp said: ‘There are some extraordinary artworks from Kasia Molga’s latex ‘skin’ that changes colour as it receives coral data from the Great Barrier Reef, to Jonathan Baldock and Ian J Brown’s ‘Toilers of the Sea’, a nautical kingdom with a ship and a giant octopus that children will love – the wide range of artworks means there’s something for everyone.’
‘This is a unique exhibition never been seen before in Hull and promises to offer visitors something very special,’ added Councillor Terry Geraghty, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure and Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure Limited,
Entry is free. Opening times: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Thursday 10am – 7.30pm and Sunday 11am – 4.30pm.