Spencer Tunick's Ring - Munich - Day 2
June 23, 2012

Spencer Tunick takes 65 Rheinmaidens down to the Isar in Flaucher

Blue Maidens – The daughters of river Isar or how to smurf for gold 
By Petra

If you’ve woken up once at 2 in the morning to cycle to an event where you are going to run around naked for an artist like Spencer Tunick, you can do it again I guess. 

But the next morning?
Well I guess the experience to do this with 1699 others had been a good one, but now it was a different kind of event. Instead of a mixed group and a mass event this was a women only event Spencer had called for. Due to maybe some miscommunication the day before, when his team had said the next days special event was for women and if there is space left maybe some men…  then his assistant had handed out the invitations to men only if they were going to give them to women … and then Spencer himself had handed out the blue invitations personally to some of the golden girls in the opera, so maybe some ladies did not feel welcome? 
Or were they just too tired, cold or unfinished scrubbing off the red paint from hell?

Well, it had left me with a post-battlefield-bath, shades of pink in my hair and a continual blushed appearance... But I guess I don’t learn, I came back for more!

Only 65
So here we were, Munich, Marstallplatz, 3 o’clock, the darkest part of Sunday morning, approx. 10°C, no tea, waiting to grow in numbers. One hour later 65 ladies left in two busses. As I heard through the grapevine, there had been a last minute change of venue as the spot of Isar where Spencer had planned to put up the installation (close to the Muffathalle) was not useable due to the river's high water. So we drove down to the Flaucher. A spot close to Munich’s zoological garden.
The Flaucher - famous for grilling and sunning in the nude. 

Nightbus to the Zoo
Being unloaded at the Zoo’s dark parking spot where just some flashlights from the assistants and the lights of the equipment truck shone, the whole expedition had the feeling of being an adventure. A secretive one. Maybe with bats flying about? Standing there in the cold night the idea of soon having to, actually wanting to take off clothes was somewhat totally stupid and unbelievable. Slowly the sky became a bit lighter, but when our guide came with his torchlight and we followed him through the woods it was dark and eerie again. Our group walked in relative silence along the footpath down to the Isar when we came to a crossing where a group of young men stood with bottles in hand. Obviously after a night of drinking and partying, discussing where to head now. And then they were surrounded by women. Coming out of nowhere…  So when our guide said, “follow me” (to us), one of them raised his bottle, nodded solemly and mumbled drunkenly: “Yay, lets go!!” stumbling forward to join us flowing around them like a stream around pebbles down the path to the Isar.

Security must have done a good job of picking them out like lice off the fleece as there was no sign of them when we arrived at the Flaucher island. Another group of spirited overnighters were pleasantly surprised by our visit, but had to be held back by security, so that the installation could go on as planned.

Flaucher - Blue in the morning – smurf it up
They must have been quite surprised when this group of women started to strip, but what they thought when the maidens then started to put blue paint on their bodies I can’t imagine. Maybe that we were going to do a film “Smurfettes rising” at the Isar?

Well for us it was different. The blue color we were handed was incredible. A pot of bodymakeup like handpaint, just waiting to Avatar you when you touch it... Putting it on did the magic again, but now even stronger. The morning before it was red for me and the rising of over 1200 other reds at the same time. This was just us maidens. On the island where two streams of the Isar meet, the weir behind us with its sound of rushing water, the coolness and humidity of this night saying good bye, the draft coming up from the water gargling by… 

Becoming something else, changing into something unbeknownst with every streak of blue being applied was weaving its spell.

The more blue, the more we became sisters. The less white spots we helped each other to get rid off, we all became – the Isarmaidens, the daugthers of this river…

So there we stood. Freezing and shivering. Out of our natural habitat.

Fog rising over blue damsels
Spencer made us walk along the line where river and island meet, to go down to the tip of the island where his team had erected a blue metal structure like the top of a beehive or a pyramid.

Honestly, out of the water I guess the maidens lost their ability to glide, as we more or less stumbled or storked on those cobbles trying to evade the odd broken glass from the broken bottles people now seem to like to leave as a sign of “I had fun here, so nobody else will enjoy this place afterwards anymore”…

But we reached the structure and there we waited for all of us to crowd around. Shivering and waiting. While the videographer started to complain that there was fog. Fog? Well, actually what was disturbing his vision was the fact that our body temperature was higher than the surrounding air and from our bodies that “fog” emanated, like breath turned to steam when the temperature is too low!

It didn’t take long until this difference in temperature was equalized (guess who dropped down?!) and Spencer told us to drape ourselves on the structure.

Golden lapdance
When we sufficiently had hidden the structure, Spencer called out the six maidens he had picked before for being small, light and lithe. They had painted themselves golden and now they were strategically placed on some of the laps of their blue sisters, having to roll up like balls of gold lying in the Rhine/Isar, guarded by the Rhine/Isardaughters … Lots of touching up with blue and gold paint later, the sun was rising and the photos where shot…

Bikebrakes screeching
In the middle of this process we heard bike brakes screeching and thought it was a surprised cyclist being overwhelmed by this happening. Security was on him in no time, but as we found out the next day it had been a photographer who actually managed to get a snapshot of blue and gold through the bushes and sold that to the newspaper…

Photo: Wendy Bell
Wrapping in golden antifreeze
Stepping down and putting the overalls on, topping them up with our clothes we were also handed out golden antifreeze foils. What an image. Like smurf philosophers in golden togas we then walked with shattering teeths down to the busses. Tourists stopping some of us to get a fan photo embracing carefully…

The challenge of desmurfing – when blue, get a friend!
But believe me one thing. The biggest challenge of it all was trying to de-smurf!
After trying to do the suggested: Use dishwasher, rub it on your dry skin, then wash it off with water, all I got was green - hands and face and the start of a blue battlefield shower… So I decided that smurfs need friends and took the bus across town (green face & hands, blue hair and body, Sunday at 7:30).

And with a bathtub and the use a bit of water to lather the skin, my friend holding the showerhead to water it down while I sat in the bath and scrubbed like crazy – I desmurfed good enough to get out that night.

To make up for blue-ish nails I have found a great blue nail polish (which also acts as a nice reminder) as cover, the blue-ish streaks in my hair – well they got fainter, but still, three weeks later, I have some blue on the soles of my feet … and I HAD a pedicure ;)
Still, would I do it again?

ABSO-*******-LUTELY !!!!

Let’s go green next time?


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