Troubleyn | Jan Fabre

Jan Fabre. From the Cellar to the brain

27.09.2008 – 25.01.2009

© Angelos bvba - Markus Tretter

For the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Jan Fabre is staging his first large-scale museum exhibition in Austria. With new room-filling sculptural tableaus on five exhibition floors, Fabre creates a fascinating and mythical world of horror, beauty, and metamorphosis that is hardly conceivable in conventional artistic terms and constantly alternates between reality and dream. In its mode of presentation the exhibition follows the form of the human body, in which in metaphorical harmony with the different anomatical zones, the five exhibition floors form a gesamkunstwerk of tremendous and mysterious complexity.

Starting with the feet in the basement, Fabre created a shelter-atelier comprising three thinking models he made in the 90s. The ground floor represents the sex and therefore the force of his creative potential. He presents himself as a young man with a constant erection lying on a bed of 150 gravestones. On the first floor, the belly-zone, Fabre copied a fragment of the ceiling of the Royal Palace in Brussels he covered with more than 1 000 000 wings of the jewel beetle. In a reaction to this permanent work, created in 2001, the artist “breaks down” a part of the ceiling because something – history, represented by a black (Congolese) man – is growing out of it. For the second floor Fabre created a poetic installation referring to the heart. Two hearts made out of a mosaic of human bones represent a model for the future heart of mankind: a merciful heart that cannot blead. We end with the brain on the upper floor, which the artist regards as “the most sexy part of the body”. Whereas sex represents the force of the artist’s creative potential, the brain is the place where it happens.