The Night Writer
29 May 2021
The Belgian multidisciplinary artist Jan Fabre (1958) is considered one of the most provocative as well as the most influential personalities in the world of contemporary art. With his studio, laboratory and theatre firmly anchored in his native Antwerp, he has distinctly co-shaped many fields of art, from fine arts to performative practices, as well as dance and theatre genres around the world. He has toured Slovenia since the 1980s many times with his resonating performances and has held several exhibitions in the country.
Fabre included in the play his notes from his Night Diaries (published in Slovenian as Nočni zapisi 1978‒1984) and excerpts from various other plays. They focus on images of the compelling intertwining of art and life, on passion and creativity, on pleasure and pain. The first part explores the formation of a young artist; as the play unfolds, intimate and personal records spill over into a broader reflection on freedom and the boundaries of human experience and engagement. According to Fabre, art transcends the field of the aesthetic and the ideological, it is much more and much less than that. On the one hand, it reaches into the sphere of the divine, and on the other, into every cell of one’s own body. Art is all-pervasive, you give your blood for it, it is present in tears and sweat, in every substance that the body uses in its endeavour. That is why the artist lives on the edge all the time, his »candle burning at both ends,« as his environment cautions him. Fabre also looks at his feverish greed, at his audacity and fears, at his efforts, torments and passions with a kind of humour at his own expense. At the same time, he takes the liberty of creating his personal faith without hesitancy:
Exploring and liberating the body is a sacred duty. In theatre and visual arts.
Art is the father.
Beauty is the son.
And Freedom the spirit.