Jan Fabre is a Belgian multidisciplinary artist known for his performances, sculpture, theater design, and drawings. In his portfolio are some amazing animal sculptures.
His works include burning cash and writing the word “money” with its ashes, sculptures depicting brains with religious iconography, and Bic pen drawings. Born in 1958 in Antwerp, Belgium, he studied at the Municipal Institute of Decorative Arts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Fabre can be seen as controversial figure; he was especially shamed for filming cats being thrown into the air upon the steps of the Antwerp town hall in 2002. Animal rights activists were horrified and the artist has since been physically attacked, and even had complaints launched against him by the Global Action in the Interests of Animals. Today, his works are in the collections of the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent, and the Rijksmuseum Twenthe in Enschede, among others. Fabre works and lives in Antwerp, Belgium.
Jan Fabre’s signature blue ballpoint pen drawings and ornamented sculptures engage themes of life, death, and memory while reflecting his love of performance art. Conceived in homage to death and the artist, The Man Who Measures the Clouds (1998)—a bronze figure perched precariously atop a ladder on the edge of a crate raising a large ruler to the sky—expresses the feeling of planning the impossible. “I create spiritual realms through my art,” explains Fabre, who rejects the cynicism he sees as prevalent in contemporary art.
Many works incorporate jewel beetles, which Fabre appreciates for their beauty, memory, and ability to process information, which he says has enabled them to survive millions of years. Chaos and discipline, repetition and madness, metamorphosis and the anonymous are all indispensible ingredients in Fabre’s work. Alongside age-old rituals and philosophical questions, Fabre also deals with such themes as violence, lust, beauty and erotica.
Over the past 30 years, he has produced works as a theatre maker, author and visual artist. Jan Fabre is renowned for expanding the horizons of every genre to which he applies his artistic vision.