A-list Hollywood actor, Brad Pitt has made a surprisingly impressive debut in Finland as a “largely self-taught” sculptor. His first public presentation was part of a larger exhibition by the British contemporary artist Thomas Houseago, alongside a ceramic series by the Australian musician Nick Cave, at Sara Hildén Art Museum in Tampere.
Pitt explained that his contributions to the exhibition were “born out of ownership of what I call a radical inventory of self, getting really brutally honest with me and taking account of those I may have hurt, moments I have just gotten wrong.” The 58-year-old actor is better known for his roles in blockbuster films like Fight Club (1999), Inglorious Basterds (2009), 12 Years a Slave (2013), and most recently Bullet Train (2022).
It was Pitt’s divorce from fellow megastar Angelina Jolie in 2017 that spurred him to experiment with pottery. “For Nick [Cave] and I this is a new world and our first entry. It just feels right,” the actor revealed. Both Pitt and Cave created their works in dialogue with Houseago, whose paintings in the show examine the relationship between ego and creativity.
Cave initially studied art at the Caulfield Institute of Technology in Melbourne before he turned to music, later finding fame as the frontman of the rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. His new venture into ceramics includes 17 hand-painted figurines that represent the life of the Devil “from innocence through experience into confrontation of our mortality,” according to the museum.
Pitt produced nine pieces for the show, ranging from a large-scale coffin-shaped bronze to a miniature house made entirely out of tree bark and tape. One of the most striking works by the actor depicts a violent fight between eight figures. The moulded plaster panel, titled ‘At You I Saw Me But It Was Too Late This Time’, is pierced with hands, feet and faces attempting to break free from the structure.
The exhibition ‘Thomas Houseago – WE with Nick Cave and Brad Pitt’, celebrates the power of collectives and runs from September 2022 to January 2023. In a statement, the museum concluded “WE is an open-ended concept that encourages new ways to think about art-making and the role of the solitary artist.”