Nick Cave's Latest Exhibition Imagines the Life and Death of the Devil

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The resurrection of Christ was widely celebrated around the world this past weekend, but the Devil will take up the spotlight in a forthcoming exhibition by Nick Cave at Xavier Hufkens. Housed at the gallery’s St-Georges location in Brussels, the Australian artist and musician dedicated a new body of work to envision the life and death of Satan.

The Devil — A Life (2020-24) consists of 17 small glazed ceramic sculptures created in the style of Victorian Staffordshire flatback figurines, which were commonly created by children in England from 1837 and 1900. Each of Cave’s intricate artworks imagines the cradle-to-grave story of Satan — not so much as the fearsome antichrist he’s known for across literature, film and religious texts, but as someone who shares the same dreams and worries of the Average Joe. There’s the Devil as a child, smiling as he’s clad in a sailor outfit with prickly horns and a red monkey companion by his side. Later in his journey, there’s also the “Devil in Remorse”, as Cave actually depicts himself in place of Lucifer, hands to face as he’s desperately weeping.

“What started as a desire to create a single small devil figure as a vehicle for an intense red glaze became a journey towards some kind of absolution from a series of shattering events,” Cave says. “This [the ceramic works] — and in fact, all the songs that I write — are about the idea of forgiveness, the idea that there is a moral virtue in beauty. It’s a kind of balancing of our sins.”

The exhibition will open on April 4 and run through May 11.

Xavier Hufkens
6-8, Sint-Jorisstraat,
1050 Brussel, Belgium

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