Jan Fabre,performance of Universal Copyrights 1 & 9.

Jan Fabre,
as Seen Through the Eyes of His Contemporaries

In Borrowed time Fabre juxtaposes a selection of his project sketches and drawings executed in Chinese ink or blue ballpoint pen with photographs photographer friends have taken of his theatre productions during rehearsals or during the actual performances. It is as if the director's gaze crosses that of the photographers, resulting in a personal view of Jan Fabre's universe, with a strong visual bias and the focus of the 'ideal spectator'.

Born and bred in Antwerp, Jan Fabre is at home in all the art disciplines and moves freely from one to another. In the last 25 years he has produced more than 30 dance, theatre and opera productions in addition to his work as a visual artist. Twelve photographers (Helmut Newton, Carl De Keyzer, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jorge Molder, Malou Swinnen, Dirk Braeckman, Maarten Vanden Abeele, Wonge Bergmann, Jean-Pierre Stoop, Pierre Coulibeuf, Filip Van Roe and Patrick Selitto) have captured his productions on camera since the 1980s. Each photographer reacts differently to Fabre's work, turning what he sees into his own imagery and thus abandoning the customary documentary approach to theatre photography.

The exhibition comprises a total of 251 works: black & white and colour photographs (119) by the above-mentioned photographers and crayon drawings (122) and maquettes (10) by Jan Fabre himself. The most recent relate to Fabre's Requiem für eine Metamorphose, created for the Salzburger Festspiele in the summer of 2007.

Jan Fabre (Antwerp, 1958) is known as one of the most innovative and versatile artists of his day. Over the last 25 years he has produced work as a performance artist, theatre-maker, choreographer, opera-maker, author and visual artist.

Jan Fabre studied at the Stedelijk Instituut voor Sierkunsten (Municipal Institute for Decorative Arts) and at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Academy of Fine Arts). Between 1976 and 1980 Fabre wrote his first theatre scripts and gave his first solo performances. In1980 he began to direct: Theater geschreven met een K is een kater (1980). In 1982 his Het is theater zoals te verwachten en te voorzien was won him international acclaim. In 1984 he created the theatre performance De Macht der Theaterlijke Dwaasheden at the invitation of the Venice Biennial. In 1986 the non-profit Troubleyn was founded as a production structure for initiating and producing the artist's theatre, dance and opera productions. The name Troubleyn means 'being faithful' and expresses Fabre's desire to work with like-minded people in confidence and on a long-term basis.

He breaks away from the codes of the existing theatre by introducing 'real time performance' — sometimes called 'living installations'. His writings for theatre, mainly monologues, form an exceptional collection of miniatures with an open and poetic style. The invitation to help give artistic shape to the Avignon Festival in 2005 and his recent invitation to stage his own text Requiem für eine Metamorphose for the notorious Felzenreitschule in Salzburg and his creation I am a mistake with Wolfgang Rihm and Chantal Akerman, commissioned by ECHO, can undoubtedly be seen as the pinnacle of his performing arts work so far.

Furthermore, Jan Fabre is a talented draughtsman and is famous for his ballpoint pen drawings. He is also a sculptor. There are the bronze sculptures like De man die de wolken meet (1998), De man die vuur geeft (1999), Searching for Utopia (2003), Totem (2004) on the Ladeuzeplein in Leuven, and Astronaut die de zee dirigeert (2006). In the 1990s he began working with the wing-cases of beetles. These works include The grave of the unknown computer (1994) and Zelfportret als Joker (1997). In 1990 he wrapped Tivoli Castle in paper covered in ballpoint drawings. In 1988 he did the same with an indoor space: De blauwe ruimte. In 2000 he wrapped slices of ham round the columns of a university building in Ghent.

Finally, from the end of the 1970s onwards Jan Fabre made numerous short films, which culminated in an installation entitled The Angel of Death (2003).

Jan Fabre >


Janice Guy (American, born Germany), Untitled, 1979.

On the Practice of Photography Beginning in the 1960s
By 1960, photography had permeated every corner of American culture, and artists began to use the camera to break down boundaries between art and life and hierarchies between mediums. Andy Warhol and Vito Acconci each chose the popular automated photo-booth to reveal ideas of the self.

Photography on Photography >>

Yinka Shonibare, MBE, How to Blow up Two Heads at Once (Ladies), 2006.

Contemporary Art in the River of African Diaspora
This exhibition brings the work of seven internationally renowned artists and eight new media works together for the first time, providing insight into the recent explosion of contemporary African art on the international scene.

African Diaspora >>

Ragnar Kjartansson, The Great Unrest, 2007, New video installation.

All Things Possible on a Cold Impossible Island
To travel north has always been a challenge, and the North, and Iceland in particular, has through the ages been terra incognita in the eyes of the outside world, a place of nowhere where “everything is possible." Iceland evokes a mixture of wonder and fear, a feeling of sublime, in the imaginary of most Europeans.

Icelandic Dreams >>

Art Sinsabaugh (American, 1924-1983), Chicago Landscape #155 from Chicago Landscape Group, detail.

Art Sinsabaugh's Love Letters to Open Spaces
American Horizons: The Photographs of Art Sinsabaugh includes a rare group of 85 photographs by Art Sinsabaugh, highly respected by scholars and collectors, but largely unknown to the general public. The exhibition features images created with a large “banquet” camera that made 12 x 20" detailed negatives.

Art Sinsabaugh >>

the Heroin
Addicts on
the Ninth Floor

In 2006 in Milan young American photographer Jessica Dimmock (b. 1978) won the first F Award for socially-engaged photography for her series entitled The Ninth Floor. This disturbing portrait features a group of young heroin addicts living in a ninth-floor apartment in Manhattan, New York. Dimmock takes a disconcertingly close view of her subject, at the same time sympathetic and ruthless. The result is a series that centres on human emotions, in which despair makes way for anger, reconciliation and then bliss in quick tempo. In addition to The Ninth Floor the show also features a short film about this project, including interviews and video recordings.

Jessica Dimmock charted the lives of the people living in this ninth-floor flat in Manhattan for almost three years. They are addicts, whose everyday lives are filled with buying and selling drugs, sleeping, and sex.

When she was a child, Dimmock's father also wrestled with drug addiction. Her sense of recognition gave her a connection with this lonely, isolated community. Dimmock focused on the emotional and social side of their livea. The results areis intense images with an intimate and simultaneously unpolished feel.

One influence on Dimmock's work is film. Her cinematic sense is evident in the way she portrays the space in the apartment. The minimal and often stratified lighting accentuates the sense of unease that The Ninth Floor exudes. Dimmock shot her pictures using only lighting in the flat: the television screen or a mobile phone.

The tragic intimacy of The Ninth Floor leaves the viewer with a mixture of emotions.

Jessica Dimmock (b. 1978) lives in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated in 2005 at the International Center of Photography (ICP) following a Bachelor in Sociology and Anthropology in 2000 and a Master in Educational Studies. Between 2000 and 2004 she worked as a teacher at a secondary school and on educational programmes for homeless children.

She has published in Aperture, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Fortune, Newsweek, and Fade.

The exhibition is a Forma production. The book The Ninth Floor is published by Contrasto (2007).

Jessica Dimmick >

Jessica Dimmock, from The Ninth Floor, Detail, 2007, Contrasto.