For the first time after more than thirty years of artistic activity, Fabre sets to work with a monographic exhibition in a museum for old art, where his work is confronted with that of his illustrious predecessors. Actually, Fabre never shied away from meeting illustrious personalities. The ‘Virgin/Warrior’ performance, which Fabre performed together with Marina Abramovic in Palais de Tokio / Paris on 14 December in 2004, is the starting point for an installation in the Rubens room of the museum. Here the master of the Baroque and the master of the mise en scène certainly find each other in a shared aversion to the restraint of mediocrity. The exhibition in the Koninklijk Museum focuses on new sculptures and installations that throughout the 20 museum rooms make up a journey of marginalia, homages (among others to Bosch and Beuys), dialogues and transformations – sometimes cautious, sometimes frontal. Thus the exhibition offers unique access to the rich aesthetics and symbolism of Jan Fabre’s oeuvre, which strongly exudes the aesthetic question and irrefutably radiates political resistance as well as an appeal to the individual’s responsibility. On the other hand, the confrontation reveals again and again the topicality of the major works in the museum’s own collection.
“Time does in any case make it clear that Fabre’s work has more than a momentary significance. While the work keeps gushing up in the present, we can also see an ever-growing background formed by traces from the past. How can we link the future, and the vision we seek in art, to the present time in which Fabre is working and to the recent past from which he emerged?”
– Bart De Baere (Director M HKA) & Paul Huvenne (Director KMSKA)