Words that transform, vibrate and glow: 13 paintings inspired by the lyrics of Nick Cave

Emma Bennett, Daniel P. Carter, Nadine Feinson, Maggi Hambling, Florian Heinke, Sam Jackson, James Johnston, Susanne Kühn, Concha Martinez Barreto, George Shaw, Dominic Shepherd, George Stamatakis, Rose Wylie

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON has invited curator and collector Angela Koulakoglou to present Words that transform, vibrate and glow: 13 paintings inspired by the lyrics of Nick Cave.

The exhibition was conceived over a year ago and its timing is prescient; Cave’s latest album, Ghosteen, was released with a hallucinatory painting as its cover in October 2019. Unprecedented in their visuality and striking in their ability to conjure apocalyptic landscapes, all the songs on Ghosteen are visions. As Cave embarks on a world tour in 2020, a conversation between his lyrics and painting becomes all the more relevant.

‘I can’t write a song that I cannot see’, Cave once stated in an interview. Having started his career as a painter, he soon turned to song writing and over several decades has produced a body of lyrics unparalleled in their consistent richness, unforgettable imagery, and unique combinations of darkness, humour, despair and hope. Drawn from songs written throughout his career, from the famed Peaky Blinders signature tune Red Right Hand to the early and more obscure Release the Bats, the thirteen paintings included in this exhibition are testimony to the fertile but often unexplored territory that lies between the arts. Three of the artists present are musicians: James Johnston was, in fact, a member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds between 2003-2008; Emma Bennett is the bassist for Dear Thief; and Daniel P. Carter, who also hosts BBC Radio 1’s Rock Show, performs with metal group Krokodil.

The participating artists represent different generations, backgrounds, and ethnicities and they approach their art in different ways. Each one has ‘seen’ their painting in Cave’s lyrics in a reverse trajectory to that of the poet. Connecting word to world, the paintings in this exhibition occupy the space in between, opening up new imaginative possibilities. Deeply personal, unexpected and moving, poetry meets image in these thirteen powerful paintings that stretch our sensory and spiritual boundaries.

Duration 01 January 1970 - 01 January 1970
Times Wednesday-Saturday 11am-6pm
Cost Free
Address , ,
Contact / /

Related Events

03 Jul '20-26 Sep '20


John Stezaker: Siren Song

The Approach

The Approach presents a modest and intimate new exhibition in The Annexe by the seminal British artist John

25 Jul '20-30 Sep '20


Emergence & Transformation

IAP Fine Art & Possible Mirror

A carefully curated mixed exhibition of modern and contemporary British painting, prints and art-related

11 Aug '20-24 Jan '21


Toyin Ojih Odutola: A Countervailing Theory

Curve Gallery at Barbican Centre

The first-ever UK exhibition by Nigerian-American artist Toyin Ojih Odutola, this epic cycle of new work will explore an imagined ancient myth, with

25 Aug '20-03 Jan '21

Accelerate your escape: Gary Hume explores the Hiscox Collection

Whitechapel Gallery

Selected by British Artist Gary Hume, the exhibition features important works by renowned artists from the Hiscox

01 Sep '20-01 Oct '20


Gordon Parks: Part Two

Alison Jacques Gallery

Alison Jacques Gallery presents the second of two exhibitions of the work of American photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006) in collaboration with

01 Sep '20-26 Sep '20


Allen Jones

Almine Rech Gallery

Almine Rech presents Allen Jones’ second solo exhibition with the gallery, featuring recent

04 Sep '20-14 Nov '20

Georg Baselitz: Darkness Goldness

White Cube - Mason's Yard

In his new paintings, Baselitz creates striking images of hands that emerge out of dark backgrounds and hang open and

10 Sep '20-24 Oct '20

Olivia Bax: ‘Off Grid’

Standpoint Gallery

Olivia Bax was the winner of the Mark Tanner Sculpture Award 2019/20. This exhibition has been developed over the past year by the London-based

10 Sep '20-10 Nov '20


Trevor Paglen: Bloom

Pace London

Trevor Paglen’s complex and pioneering work examines the systems and technologies that shape

10 Sep '20-17 Oct '20


Helen Cammock: I Decided I Want To Walk

Kate MacGarry

Cammock explores social histories through film, photography, print, text, song and

11 Sep '20-28 Nov '20

Georg Baseltiz: I Was Born into a Destroyed Order

Michael Werner

I Was Born into a Destroyed Order begins in the 1960s and surveys the first three decades of the artist’s career. A selection of seminal

11 Sep '20-02 Nov '20


Danh Vo: Chicxulub

White Cube - Bermondsey Street

White Cube presents an exhibition of new work by Danh Vo, which takes place across all of the Bermondsey

12 Sep '20-21 Oct '20


A Focus On Painting: Group Exhibition

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

The exhibition will feature four artists from different generations and at different points in their careers: Alvaro Barrington, Mandy El-Sayegh,

15 Sep '20-20 Dec '20


Tales From The Colony Rooms: Art And Bohemia


Tales from the Colony Rooms recounts the genesis of the modern and contemporary art scene that was cultivated by the artists who passed through the

16 Sep '20-25 Oct '20


Gillian Wearing: Lockdown

Maureen Paley

Gillian Wearing continues her exploration of identity, fiction, reality and the mask presenting a series of new works on paper, board, sculpture and

16 Sep '20-17 Oct '20


Helen Marten: 18 Works on Paper

Sadie Coles (Kingly Street)

Works on paper by Turner Prize-winning artist Helen

25 Sep '20-07 Nov '20


25 Years

Stephen Friedman Gallery

Stephen Friedman Gallery celebrates 25 years with this exhibition taking place in both galleries on Old Burlington Street in Mayfair, its home since

03 Oct '20-24 Jan '21



National Gallery

New Dates Announced

Daughter, wife, mother, lover, painter: Artemisia challenged conventions to become a famous artist and one of the

05 Oct '20-18 Oct '20


Frieze Sculpture 2020

The Regent's Park

Frieze Sculpture returns to The Regent’s Park from 5 – 18 October this year, featuring 12 ambitious works by leading international artists

Arists Self-Publishers - The Sixth: 26-27 September 2020
Jerry Kaye - Look good, feel good
Jerry Kaye - Look good, feel good
Follow Artlyst on Instagram
Artlyst Benefit screen prints by Simon Patterson. Exclusive Editions
Open Source Salon with Hauser and Wirth - A new monthly discussion group
Advertise your next show on Artlyst from £200 per week