On March 30th, curated by Melania Rossi, Jan Fabre’s sculpture entitled "The Man Who Bears the Cross" (2015) will be visible in the church of Pio Monte della Misericordia in direct contact with Caravaggio’s masterpiece. "The Seven Works of Mercy" (1606-07). The sculpture, made entirely in wax, is a self-portrait of the artist based on the face of his uncle Jaak Fabre in the act of balancing a cross over two meters high in the palm of his hand. This modern twist on the genre of the self-portrait sees Fabre take leave of himself, becoming “everyman”, a reflection of all of us.
The curator writes: “The Man Who Bears the Cross is the representation of introspection. It is the celebration of doubt. And with its placement in Pio Monte della Misericordia, it is as if the sculpture establishes an eighth act of mercy: comfort those in doubt. Truth and beauty overlap in Caravaggio’s painting in incredible ways. The master’s altarpiece is an extraordinary cross-stitch of light and dark in which the mission to depict the reality of what it meant to be human in the seventeenth century reaches its highest expression. An artist of our own time, Jan Fabre’s entire body of work pursues the same objective. The cycle of life-death-rebirth is central to his thinking. In Fabre’s work religion and science permeate one another, creating both a visual art and a praxis in which the human body unites with abstract symbols”. The encounter between Caravaggio’s baroque style and the modern Flemish vision of Jan Fabre is a passing of the torch between artistic past and present and will certainly provoke new reflections.