INTO THE CAVE: Stranger Than Kindness -- The Nick Cave Exhibition
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Gucci
Nick Cave’s entire office was recreated in collaboration with artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
A space dedicated to Nick Cave’s first novel 'And the Ass Saw the Angel' in 1985
Some of Nick Cave's handmade books and artworks created in the '80s
A poster of Nick Cave's exhibition that will conclude next February 13

Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition, sponsored by Gucci, takes an unprecedented look into the fantastical mind and tortured soul of living multi-hyphenate and engimatic storyteller known as Nick Cave.

“[My songs] are not in the business of saving the world; rather they are in the business of saving the soul of the world,” he explained on his online Q&A platform, The Red Hand Files, that reads like a Pinterest-designed FAQ section. Nick Cave, who has spent the better parts of the last three decades blessing our ears with his baritone vocals and blowing our minds with his lyrical foreplay and wise musings, has now allowed for a rare insight into his private creative space and life work. Through the Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition held in The Black Diamond at The Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, the soon-to-be 63-year-old plays the role of co-curator and co-designer of his own tribute. “When the Royal Danish Library contacted me with the idea of a Nick Cave Exhibition I was reluctant to get involved. I am not nostalgic by nature and I had no time for a trip down Memory Lane,” Cave said. “But the team at the library were clearly serious people with a wonderful infectious energy and they drew me in!” Cave, who grew up in the ’60s in Wangaratta, Australia, has had quite a tumultuous collaborative career having left previous set-ups – The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party – before settling with his most popular life gig in Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in 1983. But Cave himself has admitted on The Red Hand Files that his “creative energy comes from a focused exchange of ideas with other people.” He continued: “These days, there is little I do that is not done in the spirit of collaboration. We are drawn together at the behest of the world to attend to its needs. This world itself is our communal experiment – all of ours – a shared project of extraordinary complexity in which we are all participating, and through which each of our actions resound through time. We each impact upon the other, and are each in service of the other…” His reference pays tribute to the current state of the pandemic which delayed his exhibition by two months before finally openings its doors in June. Though this exhibition focuses on him as the subject matter, he could not have done it without co-curators Christina Back and Janine Barrand who helped to sort out the massive amount of artefacts amassed in the last six decades of his existence. What is most certainly interesting is in the way each installation space has been reconstructed to chronicle his life at that exact era of his existence. An example is a recreation by artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard of his private office and library which have been filled with his books and photos. “It is in the office that I write the songs. It is in the office that I construct the larger narrative. It is home.” There are also peculiar collectible oddities of his on display such as Nina Simone’s chewed gum and pictures from the ’80s made from blood, hair, glue and found objects. “I don’t see these things as art works at all. They feel to me like fetish objects, or religious artefacts, the terrible residue of an over-stimulated mind. They were often the springboards for the songs themselves. The drawings came first.” The exhibition’s run has been extended until February 13 of next year.

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