JAN FABRE | Who Shall Speak My Thoughts (of my body)

30.11.07 - 31.01.08

"Ik laat mezelf leeglopen (I let myself drain)", 2006, installation with sculpture in actual size (metal, polyester, human hair, glasspump, fabric, fake blood, clothes)

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About 40 body liquid drawings will be presented, from 1978 until today, and 3 sculptures, one of which for the first time internationally. The sculptures I let myself drain and Ik papegaai, herhaal niks as well as the series of drawings My body, My blood, My landscape, at the end of the exhibition will be exhibited in the Louvre, among the works of the great artists of the past. "After looking at various works with flagellants, blood and wounds at the Groeningemuseum in Burges in the late seventies, he interpreted these works as precursors to performance and body art. In the same way that ultramarine in the days of the Flemish Primitives was a more expensive material than gold, this is the case today with blood. It was the fact that blood can be transfused that led from drawing to a theatre piece like Je suis sang (I am blood).

The drawings of Fabre, like the writings of Georges Bataille fuse together life, death, sexuality and sacrality. With Bataille discontinuity stands in the presence of death, even while, by contrast, there is a burning desire to continue living. With Fabre -but this is undoubtedly true of every artist- this desire is focused on the survival of one's own work. In a text, written as early as 1985, he made the involuntary prediction: 'I live my theatre and I die my drawings'.

In Chicago he explored another body fluid, tears. Following an emotional shock, which led him to wander terrifyingly close to the chasm of death, Fabre incorporated his own tears after a flood of weeping into a series of tear drawings (Tranentekeningen). Almost immediately a system of categories was developed that distinguishes between tears of emotion, tears of irritation and spiritual tears.

The solitude of the undifferentiated hotel rooms led to masturbation and research into this body fluid. It's not surprising that his sperm drawings are swollen with vitality, physicality and the immediacy of the body. They exude masculine power and can also be misused as a means of exercising power.

Jan Fabre's indomitable activity across a whole variety of genres seems to constitute a challenge to the very limits of his existence, a desire to escape from himself. The last thing man becomes addicted to, after all, is life itself. Within this ultimate challenge, an artist does not create for an audience or for critics, but for time, in a battle against mortality"*.

* Jan Hoet

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