Jan Fabre


Performance, 04:00:00.

Antwerp, Troubleyn/Laboratorium

Like a knight of despair the artist combats himself. For five long hours Jan Fabre wages battle in a cold dark location in front of the camera. The investigation he does here serves as an example to his dancers and actors, his warriors of beauty.


'Just back from my favourite hospital.
The Stuivenberg Hospital, where since my youth I have let them patch me up
and put fresh heart into me (that's the best medicine for me).
'No, Mr Fabre, it won't kill you. It is not life-threatening.'
And there we go, I'm bursting with life again.
Had X-rays of my ribs and right thigh-bone.
Result: I have two prizes.
My smallest left rib is broken
and I have a small fracture in the bone just below my right hip.
It's now three hours since I stopped my performance.
But I still feel ice cold.
Today I have fought for four hours
in armour and with a sword
against an imaginary opponent (or was it against myself?)
in a room painted entirely black
at the Troubleyn/Laboratorium.
By the end of the performance I could no longer bend my fingers
from the cold and could no longer pick up my sword.
Two steadycams and one camera on a crane followed
and filmed me throughout the performance.
I am more than curious to see the rushes.
One thing that will definitely work well on film is my breath.
My breath and my cries took material form
because the temperature in the room was like a freezer.
But for the next few days Lancelot (the title of the performance)
will first lick his wounds and recuperate.
The knight of despair has triumphed over himself.
(As I write this my ego is floating around in the living room.
I occasionally have to pull my ego back down
like a balloon and put it back inside me.)
It will be a long and fine night.'

(Jan Fabre, Antwerp, 28 February 2004)


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