Found rugs and mixed media
109 x 32 x 24” (276.86 x 81.28 x 60.96 cm)
Gift of Richard D. Cohen, 2013
The Cooper Gallery Permanent Collection
"The individual body has a memory, and so do collective bodies, retaining a longer and longer list of names — Eric Garner on Staten Island, Michael Brown in Missouri, Trayvon Martin in Florida and so many more innocent black people who have suffered violence and death at the hands of police — within it. But that day in 1992, hurrying back to his studio with a cart full of twigs and setting out to build a sculpture from them, Cave had no idea that the result would be a garment.
“At first, it didn’t occur to me that I could wear it; I wasn’t thinking about it.” When he finally did put it on and moved around, it made a sound. “And that was the beginning,” he says. “The sound was a way of alarming others to my presence. The suit became a suit of armor where I hid my identity. It was something ‘other.’ It was an answer to all of these things I had been thinking about: What do I do to protect my spirit in spite of all that’s happening around me?” Throughout the Soundsuits’ countless iterations, Cave has tinkered with their proportions, thinking about the shapes of power, constructing forms that recall a pope’s miter or the head of a missile. Some of them are 10 feet tall."