The connection between the actor Brad Pitt and the singer Nick Cave has been produced by a mutual friend of both, the British artist Thomas Houseago, who has invited them to participate in his exhibition We at the Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere, Finland, inaugurated last Sunday.
A reparative “deal” between Nick Cave and Thomas Houseago is exposed in Brussels
Houseago, known for his sculptures in plaster, rebar, bronze, and wood. In this exhibition he presents new paintings, a genre of work unusual for him, and sculptures in redwood and plaster. He is accompanied by a series of ceramics created by musician and writer Nick Cave, and by sculptures created by actor Brad Pitt. This is the first time that Cave and Pitt have exhibited his artwork, pieces that were created during the course of an ongoing dialogue with Houseago.
Although individual authorship is maintained, the presentation of all works under the collective title reflects the connected nature of the works and their creators. “WE is an open concept that encourages new ways of thinking about artistic creation and the role of the solo artist, which is less about ideas born exclusively from a single author. Houseago sees WE as an embodiment of all forms of art and anyone with whom he can connect creatively,” the museum said. Houseago has started the We project alongside Nick Cave and Brad Pitt but hopes it can “expand”.
The works of the three artists represent stages of becoming, transformation and transfiguration over time. In Nick Cave’s it is titled The Devil – A Life, a narrative series of glazed ceramic figurines between 15 and 50 cm high that represent the life of the devil in 17 stages, from innocence to the confrontation with our mortality, through experience. It is the first major body of visual work for Cave, who has handcrafted, painted and enamelled them between 2020 and 2022. Aesthetically, the series nods to the Victorian Staffordshire Flatback figurines, of which he is a collector.
In 2020, Cave and Houseago had already collaborated on a “remedial deal” in which Nick promised to write him a song in exchange for Thomas painting him a picture.
This is the first time that Nick Cave has shown his plastic work publicly. Just like Brad Pitt. The contribution of the latter are different sculptural works. One of them is a plaster panel depicting a scene of a gunfight (Self-inflicted gunshot wound to the house, Self-inflicted gunshot wound in the house), has been molded using multiple impressions of the human body and clear silicone molded houses that have been fired with different caliber ammunition, revealing their trajectory and freezing the frame of the destructive movement. Another of the works is titled is titled House A-Go-Go (2017) and it is a 46 cm high composite of wood cutouts that was the first work he created.
The titles of the other works, nine in all, are Aiming at you I saw me but it was too late this time (Aiming at you I saw myself but it was too late this time), created this same year; Slave to our vices (Slave of our vices); Candle holders for loved ones (Candelabra for loved ones) and Buried Needs (Buried Needs). The museum has not provided images of Brad Pitt’s works. “I’ve taken a radical inventory of myself and thought about the harm I’ve done to others and the times I’ve been wrong,” Pitt told Finnish television YLE.