Spencer Tunick

American, b. 1967

Aletsch Glacier #4, Switzerland, 2007, inkjet print  

On August 19, 2007, Spencer Tunick staged an installation on the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland in collaboration with the environmental organization Greenpeace. He directed 600 volunteers to pose without clothes and lay down on the ice.

In this work, the artist metaphorically compares the fragility of human life without protection from clothing to that of the earth without glaciers. The artist states, “I want my images to go more than skin-deep. I want the viewers to feel the vulnerability of their existence and how it relates closely to the sensitivity of the world’s glaciers.”

The Aletsch Glacier, the largest in the Alps and a protected UNESCO World Heritage site, retreated approximately 377 feet (115 m) in just one year (2005-6). Tunick broadcast this phenomenon as news of his performance spread through media channels around the world.