nick cave at the goog

everyone has seen nick cave’s famous soundsuits, but did u know he designed his first suit out of twigs after rodney king was violently beaten by police in 1991?

he has created more than 500 suits since. they have grown alongside his practice, evolving from a form of protective layer (that covers/hides the body) to an expression of confidence and exuberance pushing the limits of visibility.

in his work, cave uses everyday, found objects and racist memorabilia. he doesn’t believe that this history should be erased. he repurposes such ‘relics’ – taking them out of circulation and giving them new meaning.

it’s difficult to look at these objects. for example, the awful spittoon at the center of ‘sea sick’ does in fact induce nausea.

his mixed media sculptures look like soft fur, but in reality the patterns are painted on short, sharp wire fragments. the designs represent a layered cartography of cataclysmic weather patterns on top of brain scans of young black people suffering from ptsd as a result of gun violence.

that’s the remarkable thing about cave’s work – his art is harsh, abrasive, and contains an incredibly violent history, but it’s also gorgeous. at first glance, his work seems simple, joyous, full of color, sparkles and flowers, but it is also unsettling, complex, disturbing.

there was a line written on one of the walls at the goog which hit me hard. it said something like:

if we can turn junk into art, what grace can we extend to people who are most devalued by society?

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