Speak Louder, 2011

Basel 2017
Jack Shainman Gallery
mixed media including black mother of pearl buttons, embroidery floss, upholstery, metal armature
Nick Cave’s monumental installation Speak Louder invokes one of the artist’s favorite dictums: In order to be heard, you have to speak louder. The work unites seven of Cave’s iconic Soundsuits in one powerful ensemble – under a shimmering cloak of pearlescent buttons bringing individuals together into a figurative landscape. Cave draws strong visual parallels between the collected Soundsuits and the jazz-funeral processions of New Orleans, which often feature similarly spectacular outfits and lively brass marching bands. Here the figures’ tuba-shaped heads have been silenced, the mouths sealed off with dark fabric, imbuing the work with an ominous quality. Positioned in an array, but unified as one, Speak Louder forms a dynamic chorus, emphasizing the resilience of community. It speaks somberly to our losses – and encourages us to continue fighting for a better future.