Le Carnaval Des Morts (La Famille Royale) is a new series of thirty-nine small pencil drawings created especialy for the BRAFA Art Fair, which play on the idea of being Belgian, the nationalistic stereotypes, and the typical Flemish vitality and character. Made with a technique used by Fabre for the first time in the 1980s, these drawings start from existent images, in which the artist adds or covers details. The small images immortalized the monarchs Leopold III and Astrid of Sweden, on various formal occasions, which Fabre reinterprets as surreal moments of festivity. He has the figures wear masks, carnival hats, fake noses, horns and brightly coloured clothes. He celebrates death as part of life itself, in a carnival of bizarre phantoms which come back to life as the social code is shaken up.
The display is rounded off by three royal busts. Classic in technique and form, they are however painted and so decked out that they become multicoloured masks: Leopold I, highly skilled diplomat, who rejected the throne in Greece and became the first king of the Belgians; Albert I, known as “The Soldier-King” owing to his courage during the First World War and “The Knight-King” thanks to his chivalrous ways; and Leopold III, brave in wartime but so autocratic as to antagonize government, people and allies.
There is no desire to ridicule, but perhaps to free from rigid frameworks: may the Belgian royals have preferred carnival instead of military parades? Or may they have liked to wear the colours of the country’s flag in a clown’s outfit? Thinking about it, are the official uniforms not perhaps absurd masks in themselves already?
Curated by Melania Rossi
All days: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Thursday 26th January: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.