a black band on a sculpture by Jan Fabre after his conviction

The Belgian city of Namur, which hosts a sculpture by the artist, has decided to alert the public to the “serious acts he has committed” by placing a black banner there for 18 months.

A major figure in contemporary art, both visual artist and choreographer, Jan Fabre was overtaken by the MeToo wave and sentenced on April 29 by the Antwerp criminal court to an 18-month suspended prison sentence, in particular for a kiss with the language not consented to a former dancer of his troupe. The gesture was described as “indecent assault”.

The charges of six of the twelve alleged victims were dismissed by the court. But the artist, who refuted the complaints en bloc, was also found guilty of violence or humiliation against five dancers. He has not yet announced whether he will appeal or not.

“Additional measures” added to the work

In Namur, the municipality, which has hosted Jan Fabre’s giant turtle “Searching for Utopia” on the heights of its citadel since 2015, announced on May 3 “additional measures” on the work to take this condemnation into account.

“The maintenance of the work has been confirmed but will be accompanied by several accompanying measures intended to illustrate the City’s disapproval of Mr. Fabre and the serious acts he has committed and for which he has been convicted. by justice,” she said in a statement.

Next to this six-ton ​​bronze turtle, ridden by a figure representing the artist himself, “an informative panel (…) recalling his condemnation and his reasons” will soon be installed. But the most remarkable measure, implemented on Thursday, six days after the conviction, consisted in covering the eyes of the character with a black blindfold.

The statue of Jan Fabre in Namur, May 6, 2022.
The statue of Jan Fabre in Namur, May 6, 2022. © John Thys – AFP

The piece of fabric will remain in place on this Jan Fabre in miniature “for 18 months, that is to say the duration of his suspended sentence”, specified the city. In addition, the night lighting of the sculpture is suspended so that it “is no longer highlighted at night for 18 months as well”.

Inspired by a Brussels initiative

The Walloon city said it was inspired by a similar initiative by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, where a set of five monumental panels by Jan Fabre (a ballpoint pen work on the theme of the gaze) is now deprived of spotlights.

“Withdrawing the work would have meant withdrawing the debate that accompanies it, leaving it is participating in the debate,” Michel Draguet, director of the institution, told AFP. He pointed out that a “contextualization” panel had also been installed to explain this absence of light due to the condemnation of the artist.

Source- https://www.bfmtv.com/people/me-too-un-bandeau-noir-sur-une-sculpture-de-jan-fabre-apres-sa-condamnation_AD-202205060505.html