Being in Canberra for the weekend, we discovered that there was an exhibition featuring Nick Cave being held at the National Library. Having never been there before, we decided to investigate.
The exhibition, which is free, has various photos, mementos, manuscripts and personal belongings from Cave's collection of material which number over 800 items on display. It is arranged in a rough chronological order of his life and career. In addition, there are interviews playing continuously on screen from various locations around the world.
Unbeknown to us, Cave has written books, movies and film scores, has performed in various bands, which include “The Boys Next Door”, “The Birthday Party”, “The Bad Seeds” and “Grinderman” as well as performing that celebrated duet with Kylie Minogue. He is also quite an accomplished artist with several of those works on display.
Cave has lived all over the world and has resided in the UK, Berlin, San Paulo and is now back in England. One residence that he occupied was a single bedroom which was also his work place where he wrote.
This exhibition is a real eye opener in what a genius Nick Cave is. No matter what he has attempted, he has succeeded. The photography is simply stunning and shows off his brooding looks to perfection. The exhibition is not a “This is your Life” but it attempts to dig through the layers that make up this extraordinary and multi-talented artist.
It was interesting to read what the various photographers had to say about him. One common factor seemed to be the difficulty they had in capturing the true essence of this complicated man.
An interesting fact is that Cave does not use a computer anymore when writing. He did so in the late 90’s but found hitting the delete key was too easy. He felt it made his work sterile and lack spontaneity. He prefers notebooks and his typewriter to complete projects because they are a permanent record of the process from start to finish.
The National Library bookshop had quite a range of Cave’s books on sale. It also contains a treasure trove of literary gems that saw us part with quite a substantial sum of money!
It is a shame that most Australians do not know of Nick Cave or of his work, which spans many genres of the creative arts. It is also a shame that he spends so little time in Australia these days.
The National Library are holding various events as well as showing his films for the duration of the exhibition which finishes on 29 November 2009.
The exhibition is well worth a visit, even if you are not a fan of Nick Cave. It is a fascinating and inspirational insight and well worth the time taken to view it.
The National Library is located on the shores of Lake Burley-Griffen in Parkes Place near Questacon and The High Court.