JAN FABRE: BIOGRAPHY
'''Jan Fabre''' (born in Antwerp, Belgium 1958) is a drawer, sculptor,
playwright, stage director, choreographer and stage designer .
Fabre studied at the Municipal Institute of Decorative Arts and the
Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Between 1976 en 1980 he wrote his first texts for the theatre and did
his first solo performances. During his 'money-performances' he burned
money and wrote the word 'MONEY' with the ashes. In 1977 he
renames the street where he lives to "Jan Fabre street" and fixes a commemorative plaque
"Here lives and works Jan Fabre"
to the house of his parents, by analogy to the
commemorative plate on the
house of Vincent Van Gogh in the same street. In 1978 he makes drawings
with his own blood during the solo performance 'My body, my blood,
my landscape'. In 1980
'The Bic-Art Room' he had himself locked up for
three days and three nights in a white cube full of objects, drawing
with blue Bic ballpoint pens as an
alternative to Big art
From 1980 he begins his career as a stage director and stage designer:
‘Theater geschreven met een K is een kater (1980), ‘This is the theatre
one should have awaited and expected’ (1982), ‘The power of theatrical
frenzy’ (Biënnale Venice 1984), ‘Das Glas im Kopf wird vom Glas’ (1987),
‘Prometheus Landschaft’ (1988), ‘Das Interview das stirbt...’ (1989),
‘Der Palast um vier Uhr morgens..., A.G.’ (1989), ‘Die Reinkarnation
Gottes’ (1989), ‘Das Glas im Kopf wird vom Glas’ (1990), ‘The Sound of
one hand clapping’ (1990), ‘Sweet Temptations’ (1991), ‘She was and she
is, even’ (1991), ‘Wie spreekt mijn gedachte ...’ (1992), ‘Silent
Screams, Difficult Dreams ‘ (1992), ‘Vervalsing zoals ze is, onvervalst’
(1992), ‘Da un’altra faccia del tempo’ (1993), ‘Quando la terra si
rimette in movimento’ (1995), ‘Three Dance-solos’ (1995), ‘A deadnormal
woman ‘(1995), ‘Universal Copyrights 1 & 9’ (1995), ‘De keizer van het
verlies’ (1996), ‘The very seat of honour’ (1997), ‘Body, Body on the
wall’ (1997), ‘Glowing Icons’ (1997), ‘The Pick-wick-man’ (1997), ‘Ik
ben jaloers op elke zee…’(1997), ‘The fin comes a little bit earlier
this siècle’ (But business as usual)(1998), ‘Het nut van de nacht’
(1999), ‘As long as the world needs a warrior’s soul’ (2000), ‘My
movements are alone like streetdogs’ (2000), ‘Je suis Sang (conte de
fées médiéval)’ (2001), ‘Het zwanenmeer’ (2002), ‘Parrots & guinea pigs’
(2002), ‘Je suis sang’(2003), ‘Angel of death’ (2003), ‘Elle était et
elle est, meme’ (2004), ‘Etant donnés’ (2004), ‘Quando L'Uomo principale
è una donna’ (2004), 'The Emperor of Loss' and 'The King of Plagiarism'
(2005), 'History of Tears' (2005), 'Requiem für eine Metamorphose'
(2007), I am a mistake, (2007), 'The Orgy of tolerance' (2008) 'Another
Sleepy Dusty Delta Day' (2008).
Fabre is also an artist: drawer, sculptor and decorator...
As a drawer, he is famous for his "Bic-art", ballpoint drawings often of
giant dimensions, under the title of Hour of the Blue. He also
explores the relation between drawing and sculpture.
Jan Fabre is also a sculptor. First, he made a series of casts in
polyester, covered with thumbnails and nails: 'Me,
dreaming', 'Dependens', 'Ascendens' (1979-2003). From the nineties onward he begins to work
'The grave of the unknown computer' (1994),
self-portrait as a Joker (1997), 'The Dung-beetle' (2001). Then, Jan Fabre comes in his bronze period with casts like ‘The man who measures the clouds’
(1998), 'The man who gives fire (the man with a
and ‘Searching for Utopia’,
in 2004 'Totem', 'The
man who cries and laughs' (2005) 'Man directing the sea'
(2006) in Ostend, 'The man writing on water'
The golden period
encompasses works like 'Sanguis sum'
'Vermis dorsualis & Devils Masks' (2002). Jan Fabre
casts in wax: 'I
let myself drain', (2006), and 'I spit on my tomb' (2007),
portrait as the biggest worm of the world' (2008)
to the god of insomnia
2006 onwards, Jan Fabre begins to work with stuffed animals. 'Carnival
for the dead street dogs“
(2006). 'The messengers of death decapitated'
(2006) There are also some works in Murano
shitting rats of heaven and
doves of peace' (2008)
Jan Fabre is also an outstanding decorator. In 1990 he covered an entire building,
the 'Tivoli' in Mechelen with ball pointed paper. In 1988 he does the
same with an interior: 'Blue space'.
In 2000 he covers the columns of the universitary Aula in
Ghent with ham. His decoration of the ceiling of the Royal Palace in
Brussels "Heaven of Delight" is widely praised
From the end of the seventies onwards, finally, Fabre also
The fight (1979), Two worms (1979), Suicide (1980), The Bag (1980), The
Meeting /Vstrecha (1997) with Ilya Kabakov, The Problem (2001) with
Dietmar Kamper and Peter Sloterdijk, culminating in the 'Angel of Death'
In 1992 he receives the "Prijs van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap voor Beeldende
in 2004, the presumed rebel becomes 'Grand Officer in the Order of the Crown of Belgium'
and in 2007 'Commander in the order of Leopold II'
Fabre was the associated artist of the
Festival d’Avignon in 2005.
Jan Fabre had a solo exhibition at the Musée du Louvre in
Paris in 2008
Important international exhibitions:
Venice Biennale (1984, 1990 and 2003)
Documenta in Kassel (1987 and 1992)
Sao Paolo Biennale (1991)
Lyon Biennale (2000)
Valencia Biennale (2001)
Istanbul Biennale (1992 and 2001).
'The Angel of Metamorphos!s' (2008)
'L'Ange de la Métamorphose'
reaction (in English, German, French or Spanish):
More on Jan Fabre: see
'The Fabre files'