On Saturday I took myself to the National Library to look at the Nick Cave exhibition. It was small and quirky and dense, and filled with small artefacts to examine. I’ve been aware of his music since the mid-nineties, and loved songs like Red Right Hand and the Ship Song. But I never realised he’d been performing since the late 70’s, before I was born.
As well as posters and rock photography, the exhibition included books and artwork that inspire Nick’s work, work that includes novels, screen plays and stories as well as music. It was a window into a creative life, and a person who takes his creative life seriously.
I loved his journals best. They start off in prosaic fashion, full of band gigs and dole form deadlines. By the 80s they had evolved into works of art themselves, shopping lists interspersed with song lyrics and other notes (buy hair dye black).
Another object I really liked was a small altered book. Nick had created it in Berlin, and filled it with old photographs bought in flea markets. I’m quite taken with altered books and book art at the moment, and this was a beautiful, detailed example.
I’ve come away inspired. I’m going to stick more stuff in my journals, and include more things that aren’t immediately part of my creative practice. I’m hoping this will help me loosen up and branch out a bit.