Jan Fabre has always been strongly fascinated by alchemy and the memory of matter. This new volume – published on the occasion of his exhibition at the Abbazia di San Gregorio, one of the collateral events of the Venice Biennale – includes previously unpublished works and contexts, the result of a meticulous selection by the curators Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, Katerina Koskina and Dimitri Ozerkov: works in glass and bone created by the artist during a period that spans from 1977 to 2017, are on show together for the first time.
The artist makes a reference to Flemish Masters who used crushed bone in their paintings , and to Venetian glass-blowers. Fabre has deliberately chosen two materials that are hard and strong, but delicate and fragile at the same time.
“The philosophical and poetic reason behind associating human and animal bones with glass, comes from a recollection of my sister as a child playing with a tiny glass object. It made me think of the flexibility of human bone structure and the flexibility used in glass-blowing techniques. Certain animals, and all human beings, leave their mother’s womb like molten glass from the furnace. They can be modelled, bent, and shaped with a surprising level of freedom.” (Jan Fabre 2017)
The catalogue contains critiques by the curators, and contributions by Melania Rossi and Adriano Berengo and naturally includes extensive iconographic material illustrating all the works on show in the exhibition. At the same time, this volume bears witness and documents an exceptional event, part of one of the most important artistic exhibitions in the world.