Sunday, May 25, 2014

BRICOLAGE: Art With Dimensional Materials - Nick Cave

Nick Cave is another one of the artists I will be including in my talk at the Eighth Annual Encaustic Conference in Provincetown. The conference, founded and directed by Joanne Mattera, runs Friday, June 6, through Sunday, June 8th this year. Here is the link that gives all the details.

A button-covered soundsuit with an abacus faceguard by Nick Cave

My talk on the Friday is entitled, Bricolage: Art With Dimensional Materials, and I will be presenting the work of more than 15 artists. I have chosen a range of work, most of it wall mounted, to illustrate that bricolage can bring art to a place somewhere between two and three dimensions. However, I have also added a couple of sculptors to the mix of artists because the technique of bricolage can be used with freestanding, fully-dimensional works.

For me, the important thing about bricolage as a technique or process is that found objects and materials lose their original identities and are transformed into new creations. Bricolage often involves destruction and revisioning, unlike assemblage, in which found objects retain their original identities.

Nick Cave is a unique artist who exists between worlds: he's a sculptor, a clothing designer and a dancer. A website describes him as "part Alexander McQueen and part Andy Warhol." Nick Cave's first soundsuit was created from twigs he gathered in a park. Initially he thought of it as a stationery sculpture, but when he put it on his body and moved with it, the twigs hit against each other and created sounds that reflected his motions. The suit also gave him a new identity without racial, gender or national origin characteristics

Click here for a short video from the New York Times where Nick Cave demonstrates the sounds that two soundsuits make - the first one a loud and clanky collection of spinning tops and noisemakers, the second a soft, swishy, swirl of long fibers.

Cave's soundsuits transcend other boundaries in that they may be worn for public performances and also exhibited in museums and galleries as artworks. Nick Cave's New York gallery is Jack Shainman (also home to the great Anatsui) where soundsuits list for $45,000 and up. The suits are designed by Cave using a vast collection of objects and materials gathered at thriftshops, tag sales and wholesalers.

Last year the Denver Art Museum presented Sojourn, an extensive exhibition of works by Nick Cave. Here are two videos provided by the museum. The first one is a tour of the exhibition narrated by Nick Cave. The second shows the labor-intensive installation process.

Denver Art Museum tour of Sojourn - 5:34

Installation - 2:52

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