Reading Time: 2 minutes

A great tribute to contemporary art

Florence, international creative workshop and contemporary art capital.
These describe Florence’s homage to the work of Belgian artist Jan Fabre, one of the world’s most important, innovative artists.

The large exhibition, Jan Fabre, Spiritual Guards, is being held at the Palazzo Vecchio, Piazza della Signoria and the Forte di Belvedere. The Belgian artist and theatrical creator is staging one of his most complex, structured events in Italian public spaces. Jan Fabre is an all-round artist, one who expresses his creative imagination using the different languages of sculpture, drawing, installation, performance, and theatre.
On 14 May, Fabre opened his exhibition at Forte di Belvedere, where, the bulwarks and the fortress’ central villa are showcasing some 60 art works in bronze and wax, as well as a series of films of some of his historic performances. Along with the artistic director, Sergio Risaliti, the curators chose Forte di Belvedere as the nucleus for this event, on account of its historical connotations and its layout. This fortification once served to defend Florence, but it also protected the Medici family during popular uprisings. A stronghold chosen as a symbol of experience and human vitality, translated into the works and sculptures of Jan Fabre.

Scarabs which symbolise the exhibition and the poetics of Jan Fabre are mystic, mythological animals that with their continuing movements, represent the passage from the earthly dimension to the afterlife in traditional Flemish and Italian paintings. Two alignments of sculptures, formed by seven scarabs placed on the lookout points in the fortress, and by a series of full-figure self-portraits by the artist – all with a dazzling golden effect that reflects the surrounding countryside, like a spiritual halo – populate the corners of the bulwarks, surrounding the villa.
The undertaking and the motto of the exhibition, Spiritual Guards, is thus interpreted as an encouragement to live an heroic life, whether at war or unarmed, defending beauty and the imagination.