Jan Fabre
Greek Tragedy & Greek Victory Homage to Zeno X


6 October, 2018




Jan Fabre

Title: Greek Tragedy & Greek Victory Homage to Zeno X

Medium: Sculpture

Year: 2014

Photo by: Tuğhan Anıt

Jan Fabre (Antwerp, 1958) is a multidisciplinary artist: visual art, performance, choreography, writing and theater direction are some of the art forms he uses. After studying at the Institute of Decorative Arts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in his hometown, at the end of the 1970s he presents the first draft of his artistic career, strongly influenced by the studies of the entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915). Fascinated by the world of insects, the artist explores the body in its physiological, intel-lectual and symbolic aspects and exercises design as a tool to understand it, while identifying a peculiar means of expression in blue pen strokes. In 2004 he dresses up as a Vespa for the performance Virgin / Warrior with Marina Abramović. The piece is described as a “free action” against the art system, and is documented in 5 photographs. The two artists struggle and injure themselves inside a box used for the exhibition of animals at the Natural History Museum and on the glass they write with blood: “It takes a lifetime to become a real artist”. A short video of the Homage to Zeno X (performance with my tortoises Janneke & Mieke) from the late 1970s, follows the path of the artist’s tortoises and their candles while they travel from the old to the new headquarters of The Printshop gallery, which subsequently will take the name of the same perfor-mance. Janneke and Mieke are also protagonists of the third work in the show Greek Tragedy & Greek Victory (2010), a pair of sculptures in bronze and wax. In one, the animal is unable to eat a fruit that always slips due to its smooth skin: this is the condition of Greek Tragedy. In the other, the animal makes the fruit fall at at an angle, facilitating the nutrition process and forming the Greek Victory. Jan Fabre advo-cates in favor of a place where everything is possible, and follows the example of his turtles who prove able to overcome the difficulties associated with their own physiological limits by using creativity and intelligence, thus becoming a symbol of inner wisdom.

– Francesca Melone and Caterina Migliore