Currently at Kunsthalle Recklinghausen:Jan Fabre.
Drawings and sculptures of insects 1975 – 1979
21st of April to
23rd of June 2013
Limited access to the exhibitionOn Friday, May 31st you will only have limited access to our current exhibition of Jan Fabre's works due to concerts beeing staged in our exhibition hall.
Jan Fabre - Chalcosoma: small bronzes 2006 - 2012
23rd of March to 2nd of June 2013"Chalcosoma", the generic term of a genus of the giant rhinoceros beetle, loosely translates as ‘bronze body’. This exhibition title refers to the gleaming surface of the polished bronze, that reminds us of the carapaces of the jewel beetle, similarly evoking a sacred and sublime atmosphere. Insects and beetles in particular frequently occur as motifs in Jan Fabre's art, whose visual language has been strikingly consistent through the years. Some of the iconic elements – such as the beetle, the colour blue, blood – suggested themselves to him from the early years onwards and it is intriguing to see how he has continued to examine the hidden cohesion between these intuitively chosen totem animals and emblems in more detail. Over time Fabre has developed a network of symbolic associations and formal relationships in his work and new links continue to be created, somewhat similar to the neuronal associations that are continuously made in the structure of a living brain.
The small bronze sculptures aptly illustrate how the consistent elements in Fabre’s universe reveal an even richer symbolism because he correlates them with other images. In his quest for new shapes, he works much like a thief confronted with a combination lock: relying on a certain fingerspitzengefühl, he tries every possible combination until something ‘clicks’. Take, for example the series of dung beetles and brains: at first glance the beetle and the brain each hold a separate place in Fabre’s work. Here, however, they are related to each other because they both have a different type of ‘mast’ between their hemispheres or carapaces: a cross, a walking stick, a laurel branch, a tree. As a result, a formal similitude is revealed between the beetle and the brain, resulting in a symbolic kinship. We are thus reminded that Fabre sees the beetle, because it has existed for so many millions of years, as the memory of nature, as an ancient computer. And conversely, we can re-examine the brain as an autonomous organism, of which the skull could be the exoskeleton. We can almost see its growing legs.
The small bronze sculptures that are shown in this exhibition invite the spectator to explore Fabre’s work over several years. Thanks to their diversity, they take us on a tour of themes that are important to him, through a network of intricate form associations and symbolic meanings. At the same time, this series of bronzes also constitutes to a certain extent a recapitulation of and a reflection on this oeuvre, precisely because bronze as a medium infuses his work with the symbolism of dedication and immortalisation.
text by Nadia Sels