This is the North American premiere of the exhibition, which was previously shown at Black Diamond, Copenhagen, Denmark. For now, this exhibition will not be presented in the United States. It should be noted that the exhibition has been acclaimed by both critics and visitors from the first days of its presentation in Copenhagen in March 2020.
“Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition” offers an unusual foray into the creative world of the musician, storyteller and cultural icon of the artist. Bringing together more than 300 objects created or collected by Nick Cave during his six decades of artistic and personal life, through a series of large-scale installations, the exhibition is a work of art in itself. Created for the Royal Danish Library’s Black Diamond Copenhagen, with Cave as co-curator and co-designer, the exhibition is an atypical fusion between biography, autobiography and fiction, raising questions about the form that take over our lives and what makes up our identity.
Nick Cave’s work spans a range of art forms and mediums, all of which have in common that they are ways of telling stories. “Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition” invites visitors to discover the artistic evolution of Nick Cave and, in doing so, grasp the recurring themes of his work, his working methods and his many sources of inspiration. The exhibition reveals the most intimate aspects of Cave’s universe and the creative process of each work. These things were not originally intended to be made public, but they turn out to be as fascinating as the end result of his artistic process.
“Stranger Than Kindness” details Nick Cave’s journey from his childhood days in Wangaratta, Australia in the 1960s, through his chaotic days of musical debut with bands like The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party, and then his move Berlin and finally London. We also discover the constantly evolving collaboration within Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, from the formation of the group during Nick Cave’s most obsessive period, Berlin, until the recent release of “Ghosteen” (2019), considered by many observers to be their masterpiece. The exhibition also reveals how the life of Nick Cave is closely linked to his music, his fiction and his archives, the various intertwined elements finding inspiring echoes between them.
In collaboration with Nick Cave
The ‘Stranger Than Kindness’ exhibition was designed in collaboration with Nick Cave to create a series of immersive installations that allow visitors to explore the artist’s mind and imagination. It is a narrative creation taking on a physical and concrete form, where the spatial conception of the exhibition is in continuity with the many stories that make up the existence and writings of Nick Cave.
“When the Royal Danish Library contacted me to propose a ‘Nick Cave exhibition’, I hesitated to get involved in the project, comments Nick Cave. I am not nostalgic in nature and I spend very little time revisiting my memories. But the obvious seriousness of the library team and their contagious energy conquered me! We have created an exhibition whose scope and audacity seem unprecedented. Everything is anchored in the past, while pointing to an uncertain future. Incredibly detailed, the exhibition ultimately offers a commentary on the precarious nature of identity. I am proud to have participated in the creation of this unique and unorthodox exhibition – a fractured story that we have called Stranger Than Kindness. »
“Stranger Than Kindness” marries the voice of the artist with those of the other curators, who have worked together to reinvent what a biographical exhibition can be, allowing unprecedented access to the material, objects, life and stories of Nick Cave. A fusion of biography, autobiography and fiction through spatial narrative creation; and an invitation to enter a mythical artistic universe.
With his long-time musical collaborator, Warren Ellis, Nick Cave also composed and recorded a soundtrack covering 800 square meters (approximately 8600 square feet), offering in turn complement and contrast to the physical narrative running through the eight rooms of the exposure.
The exhibition also includes two installations created with artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who wrote and directed “20,000 Days on Earth”, a film about Nick Cave which was nominated for the BAFTA awards in 2014.
Nick Cave’s archives are extensive and diverse: drafts, original works, handwritten lyrics, diaries, photographs, videos, found objects, and so much more. Through this obsessive accumulation of artifacts, the origin of the abundant imagery and colorful characters portrayed through the lyrics of Nick Cave’s songs is revealed. Diving into these archives does not strictly serve as a retrospective; it’s a real journey through the history and creative methods of Nick Cave.
There is a direct link between words and images for Cave. Visual creations including blood, hair, glue, and found objects (eg, pornographic photos, prayer cards, and kitsch lenticular images) were often the source of the songs themselves.
“What you see in this exhibition is the material that brings to life and nourishes the complex world surrounding each song, book, screenplay or film score,” says Nick Cave. There are tons of peripheral items: drawings, maps, lists, sketches, photographs, paintings, collages, doodles, and sketches. It is the secret expression of the artist, before arriving at the official creations. We must not consider the whole as works of art in themselves, but as the compulsive and pell-mell bases of songs, books, scripts or film scores. It is a dynamic device of tangential information. »
“Stranger Than Kindness” – The Book
The exhibition is accompanied by the book “Stranger Than Kindness”, published in March 2020, which entered the Sunday Times bestseller list. Nick Cave co-edited the book, along with Christina Back. Included are full color reproductions of original artwork, hand-written lyrics, photographs, and personal artifacts from the artist’s collection, which also offers commentary and reflections to alongside contributions by Janine Barrand and a long essay by the prestigious American writer Darcey Steinke.
The exhibition was conceived and developed by Christina Back (Royal Danish Library) and Janine Barran (Melbourne Center for the Arts), in collaboration with Nick Cave, originally for the Black Diamond, Copenhagen. developed and produced by the Royal Danish Library in collaboration with the Australian Music Vault Melbourne Arts Center and Nick Cave Productions. The exhibition was originally made possible with the support of title sponsor Gucci and the Beckett Foundation.
The Montreal exhibition is presented and produced by Victor Shiffman (Workers of Art) in partnership with Nick Cave Productions, and in co-production with Le Festival International de Jazz de Montral and evenko.
“Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition”
- From April 8 to August 7, 2022
- Gallery of the House of the Festival
- 305 Sainte-Catherine Street West, Montreal
- Tickets on sale: Friday, March 4 at 10 a.m. via evenko.ca
- Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Thursday: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
- Please note that access to the exhibition will be by reserving your time slot.
- Details: nickcavemtl.com
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The Galerie de la Maison du Festival exhibits “Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition”