December 30, 2012
First Floor Gallery and Film & Video Gallery
Soundsuits make the figure larger than life while masking the wearer’s face. The vaguely humanoid costumed figures are ambiguous, striking notes that range from buoyant whimsy to eerie menace. Despite their visual exuberance, Cave made his first Soundsuit of twigs as a sort of armor for the black male in response to the Rodney King incident and the L.A. riots. Cave wants viewers to think deeply about the world we inhabit and to use their imagination and fantasies to find hope and empowerment. Of his role as an artist, performer, and teacher, Cave says, “The arts are our salvation—the only thing that allows us to heal and also helps us dream about what will make the world a better place. I have a responsibility to the world to do something with my abilities as an artist.”
IMAGE: Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2011, Dogwood twigs, wire, upholstery, basket, and mannequin, 86 x 36 x 28 inches, James Prinz Photography, Chicago. Courtesy of Nick Cave and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.