This November, Carriageworks unveils its most ambitious project to date, a major exhibition by acclaimed American artist Nick Cave, presented free to the public from 23 November 2018 until 3 March 2019. Nick Cave: UNTIL represents Carriageworks’ most substantial presentation of work by a solo artist and Nick Cave’s largest exhibition to date.
Nick Cave: UNTIL, is the result of a partnership between Carriageworks, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, with the three organisations co-commissioning and co-presenting the project following four year’s development with the artist. In Australia the exhibition will be seen exclusively at Carriageworks.
A play on the phrase ‘innocent until proven guilty’, or in this case ‘guilty until proven innocent’, UNTIL began with a question Cave asked himself; ‘Is there racism in heaven?’ Rather than providing a direct answer, Cave offers us an experience, an immersive exhibition that addresses issues of race relations, gender politics and gun violence in America, and the resonance of these matters in communities around the world.
The centrepiece of NICK CAVE: UNTIL is Crystal Cloudscape, a twelve-metre long and six-metre wide sculpture, weighing five tonne, and suspended within the Carriageworks public space. Made primarily from thousands of crystals, beads, and found objects, visitors are invited to climb one of four ladders to view the top surface of the work – an uncanny bricolage of objects that reference an American vernacular past and present. Birds, flowers, black-faced lawn jockeys, Christmas decorations and vintage Beams Trophy Whiskey Decanters populate a landscape simultaneously alluring as it is menacing.
Other spaces within UNTIL include Hy-Dyve, an immersive 14 channel video installation, Flow/Blow, a fan propelled wall of shimmering mylar filament, and the Beaded Cliff Wall, an extraordinary mountainous installation constructed with millions of plastic hair pony beads. In UNTIL the artist has created a space where kinetics and sumptuous materials are interrupted with stark images of guns, bullets and targets, that position us all as culpable, vulnerable and potentially under attack.
“I view this work as a theatre set, or an elaborate community forum, as much as a work of sculpture,” explained Nick Cave.
Speaking to the artist’s belief that art invigorates communities, Nick Cave: UNTIL will also be used as a platform for artistic engagement throughout the three-month presentation, including free-events spanning music and performance, alongside panel discussions and community forums. This program of events, specially-curated by Carriageworks for the project’s Sydney presentation, will see multi-disciplinary artists working across dance, visual arts, music, performance, theatre and literature to respond to the exhibition.
Carriageworks Director Lisa Havilah said: ‘Carriageworks is honoured to be working with Nick Cave and our international partner institutions to deliver this ambitious project. Carriageworks is a place that engages communities with contemporary ideas and issues through commissioning and presenting work across dance, visual arts, music and performance.
‘Nick Cave is an artist that is undefinable in the way that he can easily move between artistic forms, while also creating a work that has a great generosity to other artists and to our communities. Nick Cave: UNTIL will provide an opportunity to see ourselves reflected which will be a great gift from Nick Cave to all of us. We look forward to being together inside the world that is Nick Cave,’ added Havilah.
NICK CAVE: UNTIL will be presented free to the public from 23 November 2018 until 3 March 2019. Bloomberg Philanthropies is a Community Partner of Nick Cave: UNTIL. This project is proudly supported by Sydney Festival and media partners The New York Times and Broadsheet.