Jan Fabre was born on December 14, 1958 in Antwerp. He completed his studies first at the Municipal Institute for Decorative Arts and Crafts, then at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp.
Having established a close relationship with theater from the very beginning of his career, the artist started to draw attention with his controversial and conspicuous performances. Between 1970-80, he changed the name of the street he lived on to “Jan Fabre Street”, placed a plaque saying “Jan Fabre lives and works here” on the door of his family home commemorating Van Gogh, used his own blood to make drawings at one of his solo performances, and locked himself inside a white cube full of objects for three days and nights at the “The Bic-Art Room” performance. He continues to succeed in many international theater productions under his theater company called Troubleyn/Jan Fabre which he founded in 1986.
While focusing on the relationship between sculpture and drawing, Jan Fabre creates painting-like sculptures using bronze and jewel beetle wing-cases. Over the course of his 40-year career, the artist, who has gained a reputation as a theater director, choreographer, visual artist and writer, includes symbols and motifs in his works using controversial media such as animal skeletons, stuffed animals, insects and blood. Evaluating the relationship between humans and animals as an important element of change, his works are concerned with theatrical worry; Fabre explores the fluid boundaries of the body to understand its existential meaning and how it adapts to
every emotion and thought. He thinks of the body as a shell that hides the concept of self and deeper contents within.
Jan Fabre lives and works in Antwerp.
His installation on the ceiling of the Royal Palace of Brussels made of 1 million 600 thousand jewel beetle wing-cases and his sculpture “Totem” placed in the Ladeuzeplein square in Leuven depicting a giant jewel beetle skewered on a needle are among his works, which have been exhibited in many important institutions including The Louvre (France); Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts (Belgium); CAAC Sevilla (Spain); Musée d’Art contemporain de Lyon (France); Leopold Museum (Austria); Forte Belvedere, Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria (Italy); Museum Beelden Aan Zee (Switzerland); Van Gogh Museum (The Netherlands); Kunsthalle Basel (Switzerland), and at the Venice Biennial (Italy) and Lyon Biennial (France). The artist’s play “Angel of Death” was staged in 2006 in Istanbul at the 15th Istanbul International Theater Festival and the 4th Theater Olympics.