From the Catalogue: Jan Fabre
Jan Fabre’s artwork ‘Shoe Boxes’ should be understood as the first announcement of what the artist elaborated in the 80s with his ordinary blue BIC ballpoint pens under the theme of The Hour Blue and within the concept of extended drawing. For Jan Fabre the art of drawing is not limited to the two-dimensional drawing on paper; he extends the field of drawing to three-dimensional drawings, on unusual supports and in sizes that never have been seen before. It will do to simply refer to the blue drawings – small or large, with or without insects -, the big satin canvases, the Scissor’s House, the Houses of Flames, the Tivoli-castle etc. All these realisations can be seen as organic offshoots of the very first blue objects, the 1977 Shoe Boxes.
Jan Fabre, The Years of the Hour Blue. Drawings and Sculptures 1977-1992, Busan Museum Of Art, Busan, South Korea, Busan, South Korea, 2013; Jan Fabre - Les années de l'heure bleue. Dessins et sculptures. 1977-1992, Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint Etienne Métropole, Saint Etienne Cedex 1, France, 2012; Jan Fabre: Modellen 1977-1985, Deweer Art Gallery, Otegem, Be, 1988; Jan Fabre: Een Portret, Deweer Art Gallery, Otegem, BE, 1992;
Jan Fabre, Les années de l'heure bleue. Dessins et sculptures. 1977-1992, Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint Etienne Métropole, France, 2012, p. 219;
Jan Fabre - The Years of the hour blue, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, Austria, 2011, p. 117 & 157; Jan Fabre, Kijkdozen en Denkmodellen, 1977-2005, 2006, p.50-51; Dichters rond de beeldende kunstenaar Jan Fabre, Watou '95; Jan Fabre: Modellen 1977-1985, Deweer Art Gallery, Otegem, Belgium, 1988
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. Their emerald-like shells—1.4 million of them arranged in various forms and patterns—encrust his work for a ceiling in Brussels’ Palais Royal (Heaven of Delight, 2002).
Belgian, b. 1958, Antwerp, Belgium