Stranger Than Kindness: Nick Cave Exhibition Officially Opened, April 8, | Galerie de la Maison du Festival, Montreal

Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave exhibition officially opened n April 8 and will run until August 7 at the Galerie de la Maison du Festival in Montreal. 
This is the North American premiere of the exhibition, which was previously presented at the Black Diamond in Copenhagen, Denmark. The exhibition has been praised by both critics and visitors from the first days of its presentation in Copenhagen in March 2020.

Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave exhibition offers an unusual foray into the creative world of the musician, storyteller and cultural icon of the artist. Bringing together more than 300 objects created or collected by Nick Cave during his six decades of artistic and personal life, through a series of large-scale installations, the exhibition is a work of art in itself. Created for the Black Diamond of the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, with Cave as co-curator and co-designer, the exhibition is an atypical fusion of biography, autobiography and fiction, raising questions about what our lives take and what makes up our identity.
Nick Cave’s work spans a wide range of art forms and means of expression, which have in common ways of telling stories. Stranger Than Kindness: The Nick Cave exhibition invites visitors to discover Cave’s artistic evolution and, in doing so, to grasp the recurring themes of his work, his working methods and his many sources of inspiration. The exhibition reveals the most intimate aspects of Cave’s universe and the creative process of each work. These things were not originally to be made public, but they are as fascinating as the end result of his artistic approach.
Stranger Than Kindness details Cave’s journey from his childhood in Wangaratta, Australia, in the 1960s, to the chaotic days of his musical debut with bands like The Boys Next Door and The Birthday Party, then his move to Berlin and finally to London. We also discover the constantly evolving collaboration within Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, from the formation of the group during the most obsessive period of Cave, in Berlin, to the recent release of Ghosteen (2019), considered by many observers as their masterpiece. The exhibition also reveals how Nick Cave’s life is closely linked to his music, fiction and archives, with the various entangled elements finding inspiring echoes between them.

  When the Royal Danish Library contacted me to propose a ‘Nick Cave exhibition’, I hesitated to get involved in the project. I am not nostalgic by nature and I spend very little time revisiting my memories. But the obvious seriousness of the library team and their contagious energy won me over! We have created an exhibition whose scope and audacity seem unprecedented. The whole thing is rooted in the past, while pointing to an uncertain future. Incredibly detailed, the exhibition ultimately offers a commentary on the precarious nature of identity. I am proud to have been part of the creation of this unique and unorthodox exhibition – a fractured story that we have titled Stranger Than Kindness.   – 
Nick Cave

Stranger Than Kindness blends the artist’s voice with those of the other curators, who have worked together to reinvent what a biographical exhibition can be, allowing unprecedented access to The material, objects, life, and stories of Nick Cave. A fusion of biography, autobiography and fiction through a spatial narrative creation; and an invitation to enter a mythical artistic universe.
With his longtime musical collaborator, Warren Ellis, Cave also composed and recorded a sound design covering 800 square meters (about 8600 square feet), offering, in turn, a compliment and contrast to the physical narrative running through the eight rooms of the exhibition.
The exhibition also includes two installations created with artists Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who wrote and directed 20,000 Days on Earth, a film about Nick Cave that was nominated for a BAFTA Award in 2014.


Nick Cave’s archives are abundant and diverse: drafts, original works, handwritten lyrics, diaries, photographs, videos, found objects, and so much more. Through this obsessive accumulation of artifacts, the origin of the abundant imagery and colorful characters depicted through the lyrics of Nick Cave’s songs is revealed. Diving into these archives does not strictly serve as a retrospective; it is a real journey through the history and creative methods of Cave.

There is a direct link between words and images for Cave. Visual creations including blood, hair, glue and found objects (e.g., pornographic photos, prayer cards, and kitsch lenticular images) were often the source of the songs themselves. “  What you see in this exhibition is the material that brings to life and nourishes the complex world surrounding each song, book, screenplay, or film score. There are tons of peripheral items: drawings, maps, lists, sketches, photographs, paintings, collages, scribbles, and sketches. It is the secret expression of the artist, before arriving at the official creations. We must not consider the whole thing as works of art in itself, but as the compulsive and mixed bases of songs, books, scenarios, or film scores. It is a dynamic device of tangential information.   – 
Nick Cave

Stranger Than Kindness: L’exposition Nick Cave

April 8 to August 7, 2022

Gallery of the Maison du Festival

305 Sainte-Catherine Street West,  Montreal

Tickets on sale via

(Please note that access to the exhibition will be by booking your time slot)

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