State Hermitage Museum unveils major Jan Fabre exhibition

The man who measures the clouds (1998).

The man who measures the clouds (1998).

Angelos bvba/ Jan Fabre
The show in St. Petersburg, which will feature sculptures, paintings and installations by the Belgian contemporary artist, has been 10 years in the making.

The man who measures the clouds (1998)\nAngelos bvba/ Jan Fabre<p>The man who measures the clouds (1998)</p>\n
The loyal guide of vanity (II / III) (2016).\nAngelos bvba<p>The loyal guide of vanity (II / III) (2016).</p>\n
Messengers of Death Decapitated (2006).\nAngelos bvba<p>Messengers of Death Decapitated (2006).</p>\n
I am a dwarf in a land of giants! (2016).\nAngelos bvba<p>I am a dwarf in a land of giants! (2016).</p>\n
My queens. Els of Bruges (2016).\nAngelos bvba<p>My queens. Els of Bruges (2016).</p>\n

It has taken almost 10 years for the Hermitage and one of the most popular contemporary artists and theater directors, Belgian Jan Fabre, to open a retrospective devoted to the master titled “Knight of Despair / Warrior of Beauty.” 

“After his exhibition at the Louvre in 2006, we decided to invite Fabre and we began to look for a common platform. But 10 years needed to pass before it all could happen. It always takes a long time to organize a great exhibition,” said Dmitry Ozerkov, curator and head of the department of contemporary art at the Hermitage.

Works from the commemorative exhibition at the Louvre in 2008 dedicated to the artist (“The Angel of Metamorphosis”) will be included in the new one at the Hermitage, such as emblematic pieces made from beetles, masks of bird feathers, and hyper-realistic statues.

Sculptures, paintings and installations by Fabre, who searched for inspiration from the Old Masters, particularly his countryman Peter Paul Rubens, will occupy two spaces in the museum. They will be placed in the Winter Palace, alongside classic works from throughout the ages, and also in the new General Staff Building, which held the Manifesta biennial festival in 2014.

Commenting on the title of the exhibition, Ozerkov explained that it was chosen because Fabre “exhibits a sort of knightly culture, which comes to the museum, as if to an altar, to bend one’s knee before art.”

Indeed a few months before the opening Fabre came to the Hermitage and strolled about the halls in medieval knight’s armour. This walking performance was the basis of a video which will be shown at the exhibition.

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