Artatomical: Jan Fabre's Body Vulnerability


"From the Feet to the Brain" by Jan Fabre, 2009. Empty Kingdom

When I happened upon the body-centric work of Belgium's Jan Fabre, I knew I had to feature him here.

(Empty Kingdom)

Born in 1958, Fabre continues to take a multidisciplinary approach to artistic expression. As you'll discover on his website, he engages in all manner of visual art from drawing and sculpture to drama and choreography.

But the body -- especially the body's vulnerability -- plays an important role in much of his work. Fabre spent spent six years studying anatomy at Belgium's Royal Academy and you see that in the flesh and bones of his work.

Sometimes he paints in his own body fluids, other times he commands the muscles of his dancers. He's also something of a controversial artist not only due to his use of the human body in art, but also for his use of live cats in a piece. He was even physically attacked over the incident.

But whatever his faults, there's no denying his anatomical creativity.

Let's look closer at just a few of his many works...

I believe the piece is "Homage to Jacques Mesrine (Bust) II," 2008
Artodyssey
"Zelfportret, als grootste worm van de wereld," 2008
MONA Blog

His transformation into a worm bring to mind one of my favorite monsters.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.