Rescue Me: Nick Cave’s Affinity for Found Objects


Abandoned objects play a central role in the work of visual artist Nick Cave. His creative process often begins with a trip to a second-hand store or flea market (he makes a point to visit one in every city he finds himself in). Cave searches for interesting objects that hold nostalgic or historical meaning or that spark a flame of inspiration. Cave’s signature Soundsuits are the most famous example of unwanted or discarded things being transformed into fantastical art experiences.

A similar line of thinking informs the sculpture entitled Rescue, which is included in the exhibition Nick Cave: Feat, on now at Glenbow.

Rescue is from a series that centers on ceramic dogs that the artist has collected during his second-hand treasure hunting. Seated on dainty sofas, ornate lounge chairs or antique poufs, the dogs are surrounded by elaborate nests made up of Cave’s signature beads, ceramic birds, metal flowers, crystal prisms and other rescued, re-purposed and revitalized objects.

These enchanted dens are intended to restore the dogs to a position of honour. Cave has described his dog characters as guardians, or symbols of loyalty and protection.

In the following video from the Denver Art Museum, Cave gives a tour of his exhibition, Sojurn, which includes several artworks that are now on display at Glenbow. He discusses the inspiration he draws from found objects and the Rescue series specifically at the 2:08 minute mark.

Top Image: Nick Cave, Rescue, 2014. Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

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