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  • Writer's pictureThe Big Magazine Staff

Brad Pitt & Nick Cave Make Surprise Art Debut British With Artist Thomas Houseago Exhibit - Finland

By The Big Magazine Staff

Hollywood actor, Brad Pitt and Australian musician Nick Cave made their art debut alongside British artist Thomas Houseago’s exhibition in Finland in Tampere for a pre-opening event on Saturday.

Friends Thomas Houseago (center), Nick Cave and Brad Pitt appeared on Saturday in Tampere at the Sara Hildén Art Museum, where actor Pitt and musician Cave debuted as sculptors. Photo: Samy Kero

The Sara Hilden Art Museum, located in the southern Finnish city of Tampere, was initially scheduled to exhibit solely the wide variety of works by Houseago — known for his sculptures — but he reportedly persuaded the museum include works by his friends Pitt and Cave.

Finnish media reported that both men acknowledged being excited and nervous about presenting their art in public for the first time.

“Cave and Pitt are already renowned in their respective fields of music and cinema, but this is the first time ever they have exhibited their artwork — pieces which were created during the course of an ongoing dialogue with Houseago,” the Finnish museum said.

Originally, Houseagon was supposed to be presented at Hildén as early as 2020. The plans included a mini-version of the extensive retrospective at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris, says Sarianne Soikkonen , the curator of the exhibition. Then the pandemic and the turmoil in Houseago's private life put the plans on a new path.

Houseago (b. 1972), who grew up in Leeds in northern England and now lives in Los Angeles, has openly talked about his childhood traumas, which have also left their mark on his works.

He is known for primitivist, hulking human figures and temple-like structures that look like the remains of some lost culture, as if they were lifted from the sea or dug up from underground.

Houseago rose to world fame with its rugged sculptures during the 21st century. His works have been shown both at the Whitney Biennial and in Venice, and the prices of the works are in the hundreds of thousands.

Pitt split from actress Angelina Jolie in 2016, after which he began spending a lot of time at the Houseago studio. At the museum's press conference, Pitt said that he started making sculptures as a form of self-reflection, as an encounter with his own ego. Cave, on the other hand, has lost his two sons and his mother within a few years.

Brad Pitt talks about his sculpture Finland Art Exhibit. PHOTO: SAMI KERO

Pitti's first sculpture, House-A-Go-Go (2017), which looks like a dilapidated house, is on display in Tampere , which he assembled from scraps he found on the floor of Houseago's study.

Pitt has depicted a shooting scene with the help of his own body. The same theme is repeated in the silicone houses, which Pitt has shot with guns of different calibers. The bullets have drilled patterns into the translucent material. It honestly looks like Pitt decided to set up target practice with these lucite bricks.

Pitt told the Finnish public broadcaster YLE that his work was about “self-reflection.”

Cave, known for his work with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, designed, painted and glazed the 17 figures between 2020 and this year. Cave promised to write a song for Houseago if he would make a painting for him. The end result was the song White Elephant from the Carnage album (2021) , and Houseago also caught up with the creative work again.

Nick's sculpture series The Devil – A Life (2020–2022) is 17-part series tells the life story of the devil, who goes through heroic deeds to fall and forgiveness. The motifs borrow from art history, but at the same time the style has a sympathetic children's book feel.

The mythical story is counterbalanced by the aesthetics of the kitschy porcelain shards of flea markets.

The inspiration for the series of works was found in the grandmother's porcelain collection and the juicy color of the red glaze. Of course, biblical themes are also strongly present in Cave's music. Cave said he made the first part of the series on the day his mother died, and eventually the works grew into a treatise on apologizing.

Photo of Nick's sculpture series The Devil – A Life (2020–2022) part of a 17-part series

“I wanted to do a devil because it was red. And I like the color of red glaze,” Cave told YLE. “Eventually I decided to make the life story of the devil itself.”

Pitt and Cave join a long list of celebrities who make visual art.

The exhibition opened Sunday and runs through Jan. 15, 2023.

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