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Yan Fabr in Kiev: beauty and cruelty, lined with beetles wings

“We recently learned that glue on Belgian stamps, which many people licked by sending letters, was made from the bones of Congolese”The artist, screenwriter and director Jan Fabre is known for outrageous work: he designed the ceiling of one of the halls of the palace of the Belgian queen by the shells of beetles, creating an allusion to the works of Michelangelo. Jan seems to be woven out of contradictions: he is at the mercy of synthetic art - and at the same time he creates enormous canvases made of natural materials, loves Belgium - but he condemns the invasive past of his homeland, praises beauty, but does not imagine its existence without cruelty.A fresh exhibition that the artist personally opened in PinchukArCentredivided into two series - Tribute to the Belgian Congo (2010−2013) and Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch (2011−2013).
In the exposition 36 mosaics, 23 sculptures and 2 triptychs - 28 of the presented works were created especially for the exhibition at the PinchukArCentre. At first, the visitors simply did not have words - they just flashed some thoughts, like insects, of which the works were made of the elytra ... But then the words were found by the maestro: Jan Fabre is sociable and charismatic, and does not refuse to answer the questions of the blitz-interview.

- Your canvases - large-scale beautiful work. Tell us how many people work on them, and what specific amount of work do you do?

- 7 assistants work with me in the team. I create a plot, make a sketch, then transfer the outlines to a large canvas and spread out the figures of the main characters with my wings. My assistants are working on the background. On the creation of all the works that you see in the exhibition, it took a total of about 2.5 months. If I did everything myself, it would take 2.5 years.

“How did you get so many elytron beetles?”

- I have to say that I didn’t kill any bugs, so sending Greenpeace’s anger at me will not work, ha ha! In the Congo, Malaysia and other countries, goldfish are eaten, as in Europe oysters are eaten - this is an important food because there is a lot of protein in it. I agreed with the restaurants in advance, and they collected for me the afternoon leftovers — the beetle's altar wings. Besides, I collaborated with a large entomological institute.

“With Congo’s dedication, everything is clear, but Bosch — why is one part of the exhibition dedicated to him?”

- I often ask myself and the audience a question about the beauty of cruelty and cruelty of beauty. Many answers can be found in the Belgian. rather, the Flemish artists. Bosch very clearly shows the relationship of these phenomena: in his canvases ugliness and aggression coexist with high aesthetics and beauty. The beautiful and terrible in his work are things that are impossible without each other, like antagonistic muscles.

- How are the exhibits arranged, is a certain meaning coded?

- It opens portrait portrait - a realistic genre, depicting the actual person or group of people. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read on Leopold II, the great ruler of Belgium and at the same time a tyrant for the inhabitants of the colony. In fact, he organized his own ethno park in the Congo, from which he drew an infinite amount of resources: gold, chocolate beans, and minerals. As a sample, I took a well-known official portrait Portrait - a realistic genre depicting a person or a group of people actually existing. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more Leopold, replicated in books and other sources.
Then you see several works that are allusions to stamps - just recently we learned that the glue on the Belgian stamps, which many people licked by sending letters, was made from the bones of Congolese. There are works dedicated to gold, chocolate and other benefits that we exported from the Congo ...

- At one of the works shows an atomic bomb, on the other - a nuclear mushroom. How does this fit in with the ethnic culture of the Congo?

“It was from here that we took the uranium and sold it to the USA for making atomic bombs, with which America then blew up Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
Chocolate, gold, natural resources - much of what Belgium is famous for, we took from our colony. And this story was silent for a long time, we started talking about it only in the 60s. Just want to say, I am not saying this to blame - I love my homeland, Belgium is a beautiful country, and there are many amazing things in it. At one time, we also suffered from the aggression of France and other neighbors. I am telling you this not because I do not love my country. I say this so that you understand: often beauty coexists with cruelty, moreover - one is born from another. And I would like you to look at the exhibition with such eyes - with an understanding of the connection between beauty and cruelty.

Personal opinion
In the modern world, it is increasingly said, or rather, they are already shouting that greed eats the beauty of naturalness. Globalization is an ax with which humankind cuts its own roots, depriving ourselves of the opportunity to breathe and grow. The problem is so obvious that even imperceptible - like a log in the eye. Jan Fabre skillfully discovered this topic. Pictures of the terror of the colonialists in the Congo are, among other things, pictures of the war of savagery with civilization, in which it is difficult to find a uniquely positive character. Things that happened to the Congolese in the nineteenth and last centuries in many parts of the world are still happening. Earlier, Bosch described such phenomena in his paintings.

The exhibition of the works of Fabra about beauty and cruelty is strongly recommended for those who are skeptical of contemporary art - it perfectly explains its role in the modern world. These works are deep and beautiful, so it makes no sense to talk about them - when a picture is worth 1000 words, they look at it silently. Words come much later.

FILEJan Fabre (1958, Belgium) - artist, sculptor, director and screenwriter.

Central themes of creativity: the world of insects, the strategy of war and peace, the human body.

1978 -
drew his own blood. In the exhibition "My body, my blood, my landscape" the blood is used as ink.
1980 -
began to put on performances.
1982 - The production of “This is the theater as expected and foreseen” brought world-wide fame to the director. Two years later, the success was confirmed by a play written specifically for the Venice Biennale.

1986 - founded the group Troubleyn, which is responsible for the development of the theatrical direction of Fabre.
90s - the artist draws everyone's attention to “Bic-art”: drawings with a blue pen, thanks to which Fabre depicts the so-called “Blue Hour”. This is the moment when the night insects are already falling asleep, and the daytime creatures are still sleeping.
2002 - commissioned by the Belgian Queen Paola, he created the “Sky of Admiration”: he covered the ceiling and the chandelier in one of the halls of the palace with a fresco of one and a half million shells of Thai beetles. This is an allusion to the fresco of Michelangelo in the Roman Sistine Chapel.
2010 - created a self-portrait self-portraits were written not only by portrait painters. Knowledge of the world through the study of his own image is widespread among the masters of the brush of all time. Read more Portrait is a realistic genre depicting an existing person or group of people. The portrait - in the French reading - portrait, from the old French portraire - "reproduce something line in line." Another facet of the name of the portrait lies in the outdated word "parsuna" - from the Latin. persona - "person; person". Read more "Chapter I-XVIII", the last of a series of a dozen busts, in which the artist appears with donkey ears and horns of various stripes.
2010 - began work on the series Tribute to the Belgian Congo.
2011 - began work on the Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch series in Congo.

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