Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2008.
Human hair, fiberglass, and metal, 98 x 27 x 14 inches. Rubell Family Collection, Miami.
Nick Cave is an Alvin Ailey-trained dancer, and his Soundsuits convey this lineage. Whimsical and mysterious, they bring together elements of sculpture, fashion, and performance. Hand-sewn from found materials such as human hair, feathers, and sequins, they evoke traditions of ceremonial dress from Africa and carnival costumes from Mardi Gras. The ornate suits are designed to be brought to life through dance, where they create sounds ranging from a soft murmur to a powerful roar. As with African masquerades, in which individual performers are subsumed by the drama and ritual of the performance, the Soundsuits are intended to liberate both their wearer and their viewer, transforming everyday objects into sources of wonder.