Stranger Than Kindness The Nick Cave Exhibition with the support of GUCCI and the Danish Foundation Beckett-Fonden till February 13th


Dear Shaded Viewers,

Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition explores the creative world of Nick Cave, musician, writer and cultural icon, in a new way. Because it brings together through large installations 300 objects collected or created by Nick Cave during the 6 decades of his artistic and personal life, the exhibition is itself a work of art. Created for the “Black Diamond” at the Royal Danish Library, this exhibition, of which Cave is co-curator and co-curator, is a non-conformist fusion that blends biography, autobiography and fiction and questions what defines us and shapes our lives.

Nick Cave’s work is expressed through a variety of media and modes of expression that focus on narrative in a variety of forms. Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition invites visitors to follow Cave’s artistic evolution to better understand the fundamental themes that run through his work, his working methods and the many inspirations that underlie them. Behind each work lies an equally exciting artistic process that was not intended to become public. The exhibition reveals the most intimate part of Cave’s creative universe and offers its own story.

Stranger Than Kindness traces Cave’s career: his childhood in the 1960s in Wangaratta, Australia, the chaotic years with his first bands, The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party, and his moves to Berlin and London. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, a collaborative project in constant evolution, is a central element, from the creation of the band during Cave’s most obsessive period in Berlin, to the latest album, Ghosteen (2019), usually cited as their best opus. The exhibition reveals how Cave’s life, music, archives and stories continue to mingle, shape and inspire each other.


Stranger Than Kindness was conceived in collaboration with Nick Cave to create a series of immersive installations that allow visitors to experience the thoughts and creative process of an artist. It is a tangible, physical narrative in which the space and scenography become an extension of the many stories that make up Cave’s life and writings.
When the Royal Library of Denmark approached me with the idea of a “Nick Cave exhibition”, I didn’t really want to get involved. I’m not a nostalgic person and I had other things to do than looking back at my old memories. But the library staff were obviously serious people with a superb and contagious energy, and they convinced me. We have created an exhibition that I believe is unprecedented in its daring scope. It is rooted in the past and unfolds in an uncertain future. In the end, we managed to put together an extraordinarily detailed exhibition that describes the fragility and vulnerability of identity. I’m very proud to be part of this unique and unconventional exhibition – we’ve called it “Stranger Than Kindness”.
-Nick Cave

Stranger Than Kindness echoes the voices of the curators and the artist. The close collaboration between Cave and the curators has resulted in an original approach to the biographical exhibition, guaranteeing a new experience made possible by Nick Cave’s resources, objects, life and stories. It is a mixture of biography, autobiography and fiction, anchored in a spatial narrative: an invitation into the mythical creative universe of an artist.
Christina Back, co-curator and creator, says, “I am amazed by Nick’s ability to create a spatial and visual narrative. It’s natural for him to express himself through constructed narrative images, so my primary mission was to not interfere too much and let artistic expression manifest itself as clearly as possible.
Janine Barrand, co-curator, explains: “It has been a truly great experience working with Nick and Christina to reinvent Nick’s creative life by creating stories together and revisiting this collection in new and exciting ways. I’m sure that visitors to the exhibition will be fully immersed in Nick’s changing and wonderful worlds and his previously unveiled artistic process.
Cave has also composed and recorded with his long-time collaborator Warren Ellis a soundtrack for the exhibition’s 800 square meters, to accompany and put into perspective the physical narrative that unfolds throughout the eight exhibition rooms.
The exhibition also includes two installations created with the artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who wrote and directed the BAFTA-nominated film 20,000 Days on Earth, starring Nick Cave.

Nick Cave
Nick Cave has been a musician for over forty years. He is mainly known as the composer and singer of the band Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, whose latest album Ghosteen is generally cited as their best. Cave’s work comes in many media and modes of expression. He is, for example, a composer of film music and author of novels. Recently, through the Conversation events and the Red Hand Files website, Cave has explored the deeper and more direct relationships that bind him to his fans.

The Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave Exhibition is held at the Black Diamond in the Royal Danish Library.
Søren Kierkegaards Plads, Copenhagen, Denmark
June 8, 2020 – February 13, 2021
Monday – Friday 10 am – 7 pm, Saturday 10 am – 6 pm, closed on Sunday
Ticketing Information
It is advisable to book on Tickets: 12 € (reduced rates) Vouchers already purchased are still valid.

A few quotes from the man himself:

Nick Cave quote:
“The early years of creation were filled with a great intermingling of ideas – the most incredible characters, drugs, art, all this wonderful chaos. »

Nick Cave quote
When asked about the “art” works he created in the 1980s, Cave said, “I don’t see these things as ‘art’ at all. Rather, I see them as fetish objects or religious works, the terrible remnants of an overexcited mind. They have often served as a springboard for the songs themselves. The drawings came first. »

Nick Cave quote:
“There is a destructive element to collaboration. The creative process is so all-consuming that you sometimes forget to be friends. If there were a definition of what a band is, you could say it’s the absence of former members. This loss is the driving force behind the Bad Seeds. »

Nick Cave quote:
“I’ve always had a desk, in one form or another, and I’ve spent most of my life behind a desk. It is my natural habitat. This beautifully reconstructed office space is the backbone of the rest of the exhibition. It’s in my office that I write the songs. It’s in my office that I create in the broadest sense. This is my home. »

Nick Cave quote:
“My notebooks, [which] are essentially a collection of failed ideas… ». Cave refers to these notebooks as “devotional ob- jets”.

Diane Pernet

A LEGENDARY FIGURE IN FASHION and a pioneer of blogging, Diane is a respected journalist, critic, curator and talent-hunter based in Paris. During her prolific career, she designed her own successful brand in New York, costume designer, photographer, and filmmaker.