His pictures were once made of blood (nd current)

Nick Cave, the exceptional Australian artist and great world sufferer, is in the middle of his 64th year. He survived a tough drug era in the 90s and the painful accidental death of his son Arthur in 2015. He turtled with Kylie Minogue, rattled with Blixa cash and is now an almost mythically revered age from the mountains of pop company.

Since he discovered Christ and the Christian rat tail for himself, he has escaped me a little because I do not like to follow this part of his creative dynamization. Because God is dead, Nietzsche already told us, and fairy tales belong in the blue hour when half-demented old people conjure up the fear of the bad wolf under the covers of our children.

Blessed youth. I first experienced Cave and the musicians in a West Berlin club in 1985. His dark music fit well into the 80s and 90s, the scene wore black fabrics and suffered from Weltschmerz. Men and women swore by the kohl pencil, outside was the bad life, but we had our smoking caves like the Ex’n’Pop, the Kumpelnest 3000, the caféM, the Oranbar, in which we could hide from the world. Cave appeared again and again in these sacred bars of the lust for death, mostly with a large entourage, a noisy, drug-infested troop of wonderfully arrogant devils and devils.

Whoever escapes King Heroin needs a new means of life. In this respect, Cave’s search for God makes sense for him. Nobody could look sadder than he, this fragile man with his transcendent messages. Admittedly, today he is a good hero in the indie sky.

In order to better understand all of this, I dive into the 270 pages of the catalog, which, with typescripts, painted photos, handwritten notes, religious drawings, bundles of crime and junk, give an impression of Cave’s artist hell. It begins with snapshots from childhood and a letter from a school principal in Australia who discovers a disrespectful bully in Cave. After all, as a lone wolf, he has to box his way through a hostile provincial environment. Unfortunately, photos and documents for Birthday Party, its important, first and black romantic band are missing. For reasons that only Cave knows (but not communicated), various heroines who once stood by his side are also missing. For this, a former wife (Anita Lane) gets the pop crown.

As a stage artist, he was and is brilliant, even if it is a bit more difficult today to do all the poses for him. You don’t have to take every text literally, especially since his concerts were always very atmospheric sacrificial rituals. The texts in the catalog are naturally full of allusions to the Bible, the pictures are often disturbing. Cave also painted with his own blood in the 80s when he was still on drugs and every evening heard the angels announcing his imminent death.

Cave liked to paint naked women, obsessively collecting memories of love. There was always a closeness to the fallen angels, whether in the killer ballads or other songs of the wonderfully crazy Reverend Cave. Love, guilt, forgiveness, the good old ingredients. “Nick Cave’s work achieves the re-enchantment of the world. It reminds us that our longing for God is real, our main task being to bear witness to, serve and love one another, ”writes Darcey Steinke in her essay in“ Stranger Than Kindness ”.

Outsider Cave as Grandmaster of Christianity? Fans will like it, all other interested parties turn the pages and enjoy the self-stylization as ultra-cool artist and super-sexy world-sufferer. Eureka, how wonderfully irony-free he can look over his shoulder! His pose undoubtedly dwarfs the value of the works. Let’s just assume this is a permanent performance and enjoy Cave’s shreds and colors.

Nick Cave: Stranger Than Kindness.

A. d. Engl. v. Christian Lux. Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 276 pp., Br,. 29 €.