Jan Fabre (BE, º1958)

I spit on my grave
(hommage to Boris Vian)

installation, 2006
Collection of the Verbeke Foundation

I spit on my grave (hommage to Boris Vian) comprises 416 granite tombstones, from Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Das Eismeer. The birth and death dates under the names of insects, make it possible to associate the wall. Instead of using artists names directly, Jan Fabre has chosen to give all his favorite artists a nickname referring to the qualities of the chosen insect. In cooperation with Jan Fabre a specific soundtrack was composed for the artwork by Serge Verstockt.

The layers of meaning in I spit on my grave (hommage to Boris Vian) are multiple. The work may be seen as a reflection on the vanity of recognition and glory. This is a very pertinent them for Jan Fabre, as currently he is an internationally recognized artist. In addition, the idea of people assigned with worms names relates to Jan Fabre’s fascination with the world of insects, such as the one studied in the 19th century by the French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915).

The installation was commissioned by the Verbeke Foundation in 2006, in the presence of the artist who was overseeing the manual engraving on the gravestones. Two analogical artworks were also created on the Foundation’s premises. They were later presented at the Venice Biennale (2007), at the exhibition L’Ange de la Métamorphoses at the Louvre (2008), at the exhibition From the Feet to the Brain at Kunsthaus Bregenz (2009) and at the exhibition Hortus/Corpus at the Kröller-Müller Museum (2011).

Website: Jan Fabre