Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition opens Friday, April 8 at the Galerie de la Maison du Festival in Montreal

Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition opens Friday, April 8 at the Galerie de la Maison du Festival in Montreal. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, March 4 at 10 a.m. via evenko.ca

This is the North American premiere of the exhibition, which was previously presented at The Black Diamond, Copenhagen, Denmark. There are currently no plans for the exhibition to travel to the USA.

Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition is an unprecedented look into the creative world of musician, storyteller, and cultural icon Nick Cave. With more than 300 objects collected or created by Nick Cave through six decades of his creative and private life brought together in large-scale installations, the exhibition is an artwork in itself. Created for The Black Diamond of The Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, and with Cave as a co-curator and co-designer, the exhibition is an unorthodox fusion of biography, autobiography, and fiction, asking what shapes our lives and makes us who we are.

Nick Cave’s body of work encompasses a wide range of media and modes of expression, with narrative forms at its heart. Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition invites visitors to follow Cave’s development as an artist – and to gain insight into the overarching themes of his work, his working methods, and the many sources of inspiration underpinning it all. Behind each work is an equally fascinating artistic process not originally intended for public view; the exhibition opens up the innermost parts of Cave’s creative universe and offers a story of its own.

Stranger Than Kindness covers the journey from Cave’s childhood in 1960s Wangaratta, Australia, through the chaotic years with his first bands, The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party, and his relocation to Berlin and then London. Central is the ever-evolving collaboration in Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, from the band’s inception in Cave’s most obsessive period in Berlin, up to their latest release Ghosteen (2019), widely acknowledged as their best work ever. The exhibition reveals how Nick Cave’s life, music, archives, and fictions continue to intertwine, inform and inspire each other.

The exhibition has been designed in collaboration with Nick Cave to create a series of immersive installations which allow visitors to inhabit the thoughts and creative process of an artist. It is a tangible, physical narrative, in which the space and exhibition design becomes an extension of the many stories contained within Cave’s life and writings.

Nick Cave shares,

“ 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. But the team at the library were clearly serious people with a wonderful infectious energy and they drew me in! We created an exhibition that feels unprecedented in its audacious reach, its feet rooted in the past while extending into the uncertain future. In the end we were able to put together an exhibition of extraordinary detail that commented on the fragile and vulnerable nature of identity.

I am so proud to be a part of this unique and unorthodox exhibition—a shattered history we called Stranger Than Kindness.” 

Nick Cave’s archives are bountiful and diverse: drafts, original artwork, handwritten lyrics, diaries, photographs, videos, found objects and much more. Rich, obsessive and unorthodox they are a vibrant, inexhaustible source of exploration of his work. This is the wellspring of Nick Cave’s lyrics and their teeming world of imaginative imagery and vivid characters. Delving deep into this archive is not just an act of retrospection, it is also a journey through Cave’s history and creative processes.

For Cave there is a close connection between the visual and his narratives. Pictures made from blood and hair, glue and found objects – such as pornographic photographs, religious prayer cards, and kitsch lenticulars – were often the springboards for the songs themselves.

Nick Cave says,

“ What you see in this exhibition lives in the intricate world constructed around the song or book or script or score. It is the material that gives birth to and nourishes this official work. There is an enormous amount of this peripheral stuff – drawings, maps, lists, doodles, photographs, paintings, collages, scribblings and drafts – which are the secret and unformed property of the artist. These are not to be seen as artworks so much as the wild-eyed and compulsive superstructure that bears the song or book or script or score along. They are a support system of manic tangential information.”

Watch the trailer HERE:

The exhibition is accompanied by the book, Stranger Than Kindness, a Sunday Times bestseller published in March 2020. The book was developed and curated by Nick Cave in collaboration with Christina Back and features full colour reproductions of original artwork, handwritten lyrics, photographs, and collected personal artefacts along with commentary and meditations from Nick Cave, Janine Barrand, and a substantial essay by the acclaimed American writer Darcey Steinke.

For more information, go HERE.

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