One of the most rewarding things that has come of contributing to the STRUTT blog both this year and last, has been my (personal) discovery of artists working in the niche subject area of embodied art. Last year my research led me to some seriously breathtaking work and it’s interesting to be able to compare what these commercial artists/designers are doing to the work that comprises STRUTT. Our regional show of “art for the body” really stands up.
Nick Cave is another lucky find courtesy of a recent late-night google search. Cave is a “trans-artist working between sculpture, installation, performance, video, designed object and fashion,” and is known for his Soundsuits, otherworldly sculptural forms made to the scale of his body. The inspiration for Cave’s first Soundsuit came when he was sitting in a Chicago park in the late nineties reflecting on the events surrounding the Rodney King beating and how it made him feel as a black man. He looked down and saw a twig. It was “something that I walk on, something I dismiss,” he said, “and it just sort of clicked.” He took the twigs home and wired them together, resulting in a larger-than-life garment. Once the twig garment was complete, he was entranced by the sound it made when worn and his Soundsuits were born. Subsequent suits are made from scavenged objects including buttons, human hair, toys, bottle caps, etc. He has shown his Soundsuits internationally, displayed both as static and moving objects–as sculptures and through live performances, videos, and photographs. Cave currently presides over the graduate fashion program at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago.