Olaf Karlsen put out an announcement in the local Lister24 newspaper calling on the people of Kviljoodden to join him on the beach for the passing of the Sommerbåten, or Summer Boat, which state broadcaster NRK has hired to travel around the coast of Norway this summer.
He named the naked group performance Strandfolket, or The Beach People. But in the end, he stood on the beach alone.
“I was pissed off. I called everyone a coward on Saturday. I feel a bit dejected," he told local Lister24 newspaper. "When things like this happen you don't feel like thinking creatively or doing anything special at all. Even though I am angry and disappointed, I am through feeling depressed. I will continue, new ideas will come.”
Karlsen has compared his art to that of the contemporary American photographer Spencer Tunick, who is well-known for convincing large groups, sometimes comprising thousands of people, to pose naked in different locations around the world.
“The American artist Spencer Tunick travels the world with stunts like this,” Karlsen said. “He gets thousands of people to lie down naked, and they do it almost on top of each other. They are there for him in big cities. I wonder if he could get people to line up here.”
Karlsen is not the only Norwegian artist to fail at a naked art stunt recently. A video featuring contemporary artist Hilde Krohn Huse, who was left hanging in a tree after an installation went awry went viral last month, bringing her fleeting international fame.