Brighten Your Post-Election Morning With Nick Cave’s Colorful Chimeras in Sydney

His wildly popular performance piece is back with HEARD:SYD.

Image courtesy Instagram.

Image courtesy Instagram.

After a tour across the US—in which they hit Dallas, New York, and Detroit—Nick Cave’s dancing “horses” are trotting down under to make their Australian debut.

On November 10 and 12, Cave’s highly popular performance piece, HEARD—named for its sound element as well as its allusion to a herd of horseswill be publicly staged on the streets of Sydney and at Carriageworks with HEARD:SYD.

In the same format as previous iterations of the piece, the work features 60 dancers costumed in 30 of the artist’s famous Soundsuits, which here take the form of colorful, life-size horses that dance to live music and percussion.

As described on the website of his gallerist Jack Shainman, Cave’s Soundsuits, which take many abstract forms, are intended to “conceal race, gender, and class, forcing the viewer to look without judgment.”

The horse-like Soundsuits seen in HEARD were influenced by Tibetan textiles and traditional African ceremony garbs, and are comprised of raffia and reclaimed materials. Underneath, two dancers control each puppet in its choreographed movements.

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Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.
Nick Cave, HEARD
Nick Cave, HEARD:SYD at Carriageworks. Photo Zan Wimberley.

The concept for the show was inspired by Cave’s memories as “a kid with my brothers putting a sheet over our backs,” the artist told ABC News. “And then we could be horses in a matter of seconds.”

“I was really thinking of getting us back to this dream state, this place where we imagine and think about now and how we exist and function in the world,” Cave said in 2013 when discussing the New York City edition of HEARD.

“With the state of affairs in the world, I think we tend not to take the time out to create that dream space in our heads.”


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