If the boundary on which Kafka moves in his most famous short story defines reality on the one hand and imagination on the other hand, Jan Fabre with his Metamorphosis goes in search of Utopia along with guides of spirit, intellect and symbology.

The “total artist” of Flemish origin has invaded the city of Florence and, until October 2 2016, his monographic exhibition “Spiritual Guards” will dominate sky, earth, air and fire on the Forte di Belvedere. Curated by Melania Rossi and Joanna De Vos with the artistic direction of Sergio Risaliti, the exhibition follows in the wake of the “Vegetable Perspective” by Giuseppe Penone and “Human” by Antony Gormley.

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze
Jan Fabre is a visual artist, consilience-artist, choreographer, playwright, director … According to my personal opinion, Fabre is by his very nature and by the root of his name “blacksmith, craftsman, maker”. I have always affirmed that this last name derived from the particular change of apophony degrees, as “faber” indeed Fabre. The artist is the maker, the creator able to build and transform reality according his mind, his feelings and his needs.
Jan Fabre defines himself “wandering soul” talking to the heart of men, “warrior of beauty” who leads an army of paladins, “knight of despair” that gets out of imagination.

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

“The man carrying the cross” is the first man in silicon bronze I meet. He calls for dialogue and it is with him that I relate myself. So I turn myself prayerful to heaven and with my feet firmly on the ground; then I try to lose balance, imitating and ideally holding up with one hand the weight of Christianity.

“Art is the Father

beauty is the Son

and freedom is the Holy Spirit. “

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

In his statements Fabre not only challenges the faith. With his patriarchal view, he challenges even Mother Nature which, together with Mother Art, nourishes and supports each step of an artist’s life.

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

The time and space of Fabre are based on the animal world.
Animals are an empowered man or, said in the words of Nietzsche, “man is a sick animal.” And insects are critical allegory of the body and existence. If the scarab beetle to the ancient Egyptians is linked to the Sun, it has a propitiatory value and become seal, the scarab of Jan Fabre is sacred and it carries a walking stick, and made of bronze, it shines bright. This is Fabre’s ecosystem.
From the shell to the armor: the largest turtle created by the artist is by definition in the title, in search of Utopia. Ironies, crisis, provocations? The only animal present on this earth about 250 million years ago, is put to guard a dream of the future.

Indeed Fabre had long ago reached Mount Olympus.


Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze“But I dance / dance for that God of storms that I’ve got inside my body.”
 Moved by Dionysus, I become possessed by the art of “one, no one and hundred thousand” Jan Fabre.

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

Seven are the first “Chapters”. Seven faces identical but different, seven types of bronze – and not bony – formations that branch off from the heads and the mouths of the artist. In each of his sculptural work he portrays himself in a different guise.

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

“The man who cries and laughs” is just one but given his dual nature, he creates a plurality of sounds and reactions. Actually, it is nothing more than one of the “Spiritual Guards”, «a spiritual guardian who holds the power of imagination».

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

I stop to think in the reflections of the water contained in the first of the seven tanks belonging to “The man who writes on the water.” Deep, quiet, he is absorbed in the unattainable attempt to write.
 “The man who directs the stars” holds a conductor’s baton in his right hand. He seems he’s indicating the Santa Maria del Fiore Dome, embracing the sky and preparing for the concert of the world.

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

Jan Fabre despite he identifies himself with “The man who measures the clouds” is “creator” outsized.
While the whims of the sky are elusive, Fabre proves to be fire master.
“The man who gives fire” is the last silicon bronze guardian I meet. He protects himself from the wind that before had robbed him of the cloud to be measured and with the jacket he shows a lighter that alternatingly turns on: it is the fire of poetry, art flame ideally donated to the artist by the Flemish priest and poet Guido Gezelle.

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

And after having walked past a stretch of bronze armors, I confess I lost track of the multifaceted artist. If all I have experienced is not real, then “I am a mistake”, Jan Fabre is “The King of Plagiarism”, and for whom Giacinto Di Pietrantonio defined as “a contemporary Leonardo”, there would come a time of “Requiem for a Metamorphosis”.

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

Eloisa Reverie Vezzosi, Jan Fabre, Firenze

Credits
Special thanks to WOK Store for the Jacquemus’ dress from the archive.
Photo: Alessio Torriti – ATworks

AMOlink:
musefirenze.it/jan-fabre
repubblica.it/speciali/arte/jan_fabre
julietartmagazine.com/it/jan-fabre-sfida-alla-fede/
youtube.com/filippotimirecitajanfabre