Jan Fabre’s trial opens in Antwerp

It is not in this kind of room that he built his fame and, Tuesday, September 21, the choreographer, director and plastic artist Jan Fabre, 62, was not present at the criminal court of Antwerp. Nor are those who claim that he was guilty of violence and inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature against them. These are the charges that the labor auditor of the Flemish city has, after three years of investigation, brought against the artist, in addition to the attack on the honor of a person.

While awaiting a trial which will not begin until next March, a question is agitating the Belgian cultural world: should we or should we not ban the work of one of the country’s most renowned artists? Some performances of his shows have already been canceled, including, in Charleroi, the premiere of The Fluid Force Of Love. Insults and threats on social networks would have motivated this decision.

In Antwerp and Ghent, students from conservatories demonstrated against the presence in their city of works by the creator. De Singel, the Antwerp center for contemporary art, has removed from its roof The man who measures the clouds, a large bronze statue. In Ghent, the SMAK museum has decided to maintain one, “In order to stimulate debates on transgressive behavior in art”.

Decide the fate of the works

This question of banishment reaches the highest spheres of the State since a major work of the artist adorns one of the king’s palaces in Brussels. In 2002, the ex-queen Paola ordered a decoration for the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors. According to the daily The evening, the palace services will wait until the end of the Antwerp trial to decide the fate of the work.

Read also the report in Saint Petersburg: Jan Fabre disturbs the Hermitage

The city of Antwerp also claims to wait for the judgment to decide the fate of the mosaics in the Saint-Augustin church but they should, a priori, be preserved. same for me The man who carries the cross, a bronze sculpture that has adorned the city’s cathedral since 2015. “The work retains its value, regardless of the person who created it”, supports the local clergy, happy with the counterpoint that it operates with the triptych The Descent from the Cross, by Rubens, exhibited at the same location.

The director risks, if found guilty, a sentence of up to 5 years in prison

In Wetteren, in East Flanders, a research center on medical robotics will also keep a reproduction of The man who measures the clouds. And at the citadel of Namur, a giant tortoise on which a Jan Fabre double straddles will also remain in place. The debate on “Should we separate the artist from the man?” Will be relaunched once the fate that justice will reserve for the artist is known. On Tuesday, the court was only due to schedule the hearings. This time, the director risks, if found guilty, a sentence of up to 5 years in prison. His lawyers denounce, for their part, a “Media trial” mounted, according to them, on the basis of untruths and innuendo.

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