To the general public, the artist, theatre-maker and author Jan Fabre (Antwerp, 1958) is renowned for his large bronzes, such as The man who measures the clouds (1988) and Searching for Utopia (2003). In this exhibition we see a new aspect of Fabre’s relationship with this precious metal. It shows the series of small bronzes he made between 2006 and 2012.
In these new works Fabre explores the multiformity of life and death: he plants a laurel between the wing-cases of a beetle, mounts a compass in a skull, and lets a crust of drawing pins grow over a self-portrait with truncated ram’s horns. Some of the works are completely new creations, while others refer to earlier elements in his oeuvre. For instance, the Mystic Lamb from his Sanguis Sum installation (2001) turns up again, this time with its fleece sheared, and in his brain with its miniature tree we recognise a smaller variant of the human-sized marble brains from his recent Pietasinstallation (2011). The bronze variants of the insect helmets worn in the performances Sanguis/Mantis (2001) and Virgin/Warrior (2004) are especially compelling. The glow of the bronze gives them a sacral aura: they become sacred relics.
The diversity of these works makes them a sampler of the themes that dominate Fabre’s oeuvre: the magic of regeneration and metamorphosis, the reconciliation of mind and body, and knowledge with intuition, the notion of the artist as a “knight of despair” and art as a preparation for death, the mortality of the flesh and the eternal value of beauty. A network of associations unfolds between the various sculptures, one in which the viewer can wander endlessly.
Every day: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed on Tuesdays
+32 (0) 50 612 800
Guy Pieters Gallery