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Meet the 2019 faculty of CCA’s Contemporary Performance Practices!

Image. Jan Fabre. Copyright & Photo: Carlotta Manaigo

Image. Jan Fabre. Copyright & Photo: Carlotta Manaigo

JAN FABRE - Visual artist, theatre artist and author

For more than twenty-five years, Jan Fabre (b. Antwerp, 1958) has occupied a leading international position as a groundbreaking visual artist, theatre artist and author.


In the late 1970s, the still very young Jan Fabre caused a furore as a performance artist. His Money performances involved setting fire to bundles of money from the audience in order to make drawings with the ashes. In 1982, the work This is theatre like it was to be expected and foreseen placed a virtual bomb under the seat of the theatre establishment of the day. This was confirmed two years later with The power of theatrical madness commissioned for the Venice Biennale. Since then, Jan Fabre has grown to become one of the most versatile artists on the international stage. He makes a clean break with the conventions of contemporary theatre by introducing the concept of ‘real-time performance’ – sometimes called ‘living installations’ – and explores radical choreographic possibilities as a means of resurrecting classical dance. Fabre has been writing his own plays since 1975, although it was not until 1989 that they were first performed. His texts form an exceptional collection of miniatures, as it were, with a very open writing style and reflect Fabre’s concept of theatre as an all-encompassing form of art in which dialogue functions alongside other elements such as dance, music, opera, performance and improvisation. Chaos and discipline, repetition and madness, metamorphosis and the anonymous are all indispensible ingredients in Fabre’s theatre. The acuteness and reserve with which he employs language demand innovative solutions which have also appeared at the hand of other directors to have worked with his texts. Alongside age-old rituals and philosophical questions, Fabre also deals with such themes as violence, lust, beauty and erotica. The body in all its forms has been the subject of his investigations since the early 1980s. He is the only theatre artist in history who was invited three times at the Cour d’Honneur of the Festival d’Avignon. He is also the only theatre artist who created a new work for the Felsenreitschule for the Salzburg Festspiele.
Jan Fabre (Antwerp, °1958) is a graduate of the Municipal Institute of Decorative Arts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. He is well known both at home and abroad as one of the most innovative and versatile artists of his generation. Over the past 30 years, he has produced works as a theatre artist, author and visual artist. Jan Fabre is renowned for expanding the horizons of every genre to which he applies his artistic vision.


Fabre’s plays were written with the aim of producing them on stage. In the early Seventies, Jan Fabre wrote to give shape to his then already intense imaginative world. These are plays which only came into the public domain many years later, when they were staged by the author himself. Other plays were created in the course of rehearsals on the basis of improvisation with the actors. In some cases they are a combination of the author writings and improvised scripts. Several of these plays are monologues, often written for Fabre’s favourite Belgian actors Els Deceukelier, Dirk Roofthooft, his French favourite actors Cédric Charron and Annabelle Chambon and he also wrote two monologues for his favourite Croatian actrice Ivana Jozic. But the plays with several characters are striking for being like monologues too. One hardly ever finds realistic dialogues or anecdotes taken from life in Fabre’s theatre work. The plays are more conceptual in nature, and are poetic and materialise ancient rituals and themes that fascinate the author, as well as philosophical questions that obsess him. But we are just as likely to find the violence and pleasure of a life fully lived, the exuberant and sometimes dark experience of beauty, eroticism and festivity – elements in which Fabre may on one occasion be absorbed only to withdraw from it again on another. Jan Fabre’s literary work at the same time illustrates his thinking on theatre: theatre as an all embracing work of art in which the word is given a well-considered functional place next to such parameters as dance, music, opera, performance elements and improvisation. The austerity with which Fabre uses the medium of the word forces him to make theatre in an innovative way. When other directors work on these plays, they too are unable to distil any kind of conventional theatre out of them. And in recent years Jan Fabre’s plays have indeed been regularly performed by other companies and translated in more than 15 languages.


Jan Fabre enjoys worldwide recognition thanks to such works as ‘The Man Who Measures the Clouds’ (1998), which can be seen at various sites (SMAK, Ghent; deSingel, Antwerp; Brussels Airport; 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa), the ‘Tivoli’ castle in Mechelen (1990) and permanent public works in prominent locations, including ‘Heaven of Delight’ (2002) at the Royal Palace in Brussels, ‘The Gaze Within (The Hour Blue)’ (2011-2013) in the royal staircase at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the installation of ‘The Man Who Bears the Cross’ (2015) in the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp and, in the same city, the three altarpieces after Rubens, Jordaens and Van Dyck in St. Augustine’s Church/AMUZ. Like ‘Heaven of Delight’, these altarpieces are made with the wing cases of jewel beetles. Jan Fabre paints with light by replacing traditional oil paint with one of the most durable of all natural materials.

The two famous series of mosaic panels in which he addresses the controversial history of Belgium, ‘Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch in Congo’ (2011-2013) and ‘Tribute to Belgian Congo’ (2010-2013), were shown for the first time in their entirety at the PinchukArtCentre in Kiev (2013). They were subsequently exhibited at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Lille (2013) and in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in honour of the 500th anniversary of Hieronymus Bosch (2016).

Key solo exhibitions by this versatile Belgian artist include ‘Homo Faber’ (KMSKA, Antwerp, 2006), ‘Hortus / Corpus’ (Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, 2011) and ‘Stigmata. Actions and Performances’, 1976–2013 (MAXXI, Rome, 2013; M HKA, Antwerp, 2015; MAC, Lyon, 2016; Leopold Museum, Vienna, 2017; CAAC, Sevilla, 2018). Jan Fabre was the first living artist to present a large-scale exhibition at the Louvre, Paris (‘L’ange de la métamorphose’, 2008). His well-known ensemble ‘The Hour Blue’ (1977-1992) travelled to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (2011), the Musée d’Art Moderne in Saint-Etienne (2012) and the Busan Museum of Art (2013), amongst other museums.

With ‘Spiritual Guards’ (2016) Jan Fabre unfolds a multifaceted exhibition of sculpture, drawing, installation, performance, and digital media across three historic sites in the city of Florence — Forte Belvedere, Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria. Jan Fabre was invited by Dr Mikhail Piotrovsky to create a large-scale exhibition at The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. For this project, entitled ‘Jan Fabre. Knight of Despair/Warrior of Beauty’ (2016-2017), the artist entered into a dialogue with the masters of Flemish art: Rubens, Jordaens and Van Dyck – his inspirations. The solo exhibition ‘Glass and Bone Sculptures 1977-2017’, was a collateral event of the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale (2017). During the Palermo – Italian Captial of Culture 2018, MondoMostre organized ‘Jan Fabre. Ecstasy & Oracles’ (Monreale – Agrigento, Sicily, 2018) as a collateral exhibition of Manifesta 12.

From June to November 2018, Fondation Maeght presented an overview of Fabre’s research on the brain, with the revealing title: ‘Ma nation, l’imagination’. His on-going research into the brain, which he calls the most sexy part of the body, began several years earlier with ‘Anthropology of a Planet’ (Palazzo Benzon, Venice, 2007), ‘From the Cellar to the Attic, from the Feet to the Brain’ (Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2008; Arsenale Novissimo, Venice, 2009), ‘PIETAS’ (Nuova Scuola Grande di Santa Maria della Misericordia, Venice, 2011).

March 2019, four exhibitions opened in several locations throughout the city of Naples (Italy); Jan Fabre. Oro Rosso, 
Gold and coral sculptures, blood drawings
(Museum and Real Bosco di Capodimonte
), Jan Fabre. The man who bears the cross (Pio Monte della Misericordia), Jan Fabre. Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch in Congo (Studio Trisorio) and Jan Fabre. The man who measures the clouds (Madre Museum). At the Museum and Real Bosco di Capodimonte, the artist exhibits a group of works in dialogue with a special selection of works of art from the museum’s permanent collection and other Neapolitan museum institutions, as well as an original and surprising series of red coral sculptures, made especially for Capodimonte by the artist. On view until end of September 2019.

On the occasion of the 58th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, Jan Fabre returned to the lagoon with a special project of public art, a unique open-air installation. Installed in the Garden of Palazzo Balbi Valier and visible from the Grand Canal, The Man Who Measures the Clouds (Monument to the Measure of the Immeasurable) appears as a towering golden man rising to a height of nine metres.

Image: Ivana Jozic. Photo: courtesy of Troubleyn/Jan Fabre

Image: Ivana Jozic. Photo: courtesy of Troubleyn/Jan Fabre


Ivana Jozic is a dancer and actress, born in Zagreb, Croatia. She studied dance at the School for Classical Ballet in Zagreb and London Contemporary Dance School, and acting in Drama Studio London.

She started to work with Jan Fabre in 2003 for the production Je suis sang (2003). Later she continued with other productions: Tannhäuser (2004), The Crying Body (2004),  Histoire des Larmes (2005), Requiem for Metamorphosis (2007), Orgy of Tolerance (2009) and Prometheus Landscape II (2011). She toured for 4 years with Fabre’s solo Angel of Death, a worldwide succes which won the Golden Laurel Wreath at the MESS International Theatre Festival, honoring the best overall performance. In 2008, Fabre had written and created another solo for her: Another Sleepy, Dusty, Delta Day. Ivana is part of Jan Fabre’s 24-hour project Mount Olympus (2015), and continues to work on other projects.

As an actress, Ivana Jozic appeared in Chantal Akerman’s movie-installation Women from Antwerp in November (2007) and in Pierre Coulibeuf’s Doctor Fabre will cure you (2013).

Learn more about TROUBLEYN/JAN FABRE (artistic director, Jan Fabre).

Image: Annabelle Chambon. Photo: courtesy of Troubleyn/Jan Fabre

Image: Annabelle Chambon. Photo: courtesy of Troubleyn/Jan Fabre


Annabelle Chambon is a French performer. She got in 1997 the Diplôme National d’Etudes Supérieurs Chorégraphiques at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Lyon (France).

Three years later, she joined the Troubleyn / Jan Fabre company for As Long As the World Needs a Warrior’s Soul. She then performed in Les Guerriers de la beauté (a film by Pierre Coulibeuf, 2001), Je suis sang (2001/2003/2005), Parrots and guinea pigs (replacement-2003), Tannhäuser (2004), The Crying Body (2004), History of Tears (2005), Orgy of tolerance (2008), Prometheus Landscape II (2011), and the succesful solo Preparatio Mortis (2005/2010), which is still touring. Annabelle Chambon is also part of Jan Fabre’s 24-hour project, Mount Olympus (2015).

Besides her work with Fabre she founded the Label Cedana, together with Cédric Charron and performed with Coraline Lamaison (Ex/stase, 2010; Narcisses 2.0, 2012), Kris Verdonck (I/II/III/IIII, 2008), Thierry de Mey (Ma mère l’oye, 2004) and others.


Image: Barney O’Hanlon. Photo credit:  Peta Coy . Courtesy: SITI Company©

Image: Barney O’Hanlon. Photo credit: Peta Coy. Courtesy: SITI Company©

BARNEY O’HANLON (Teaching Artist, SITI Company)

Barney O’Hanlon is from Cape Cod, Massachussetts (USA.) Barney graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA (with honors) in drama. SITI Company credits include Small Lives/Big Dreams, Culture of Desire, War of the Worlds: Radio Play, War of the Worlds, Cabin Pressure, Short Stories, Hayfever, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, bobrauschenbergamerica, Radio Macbeth, Room (movement), Seven Deadly Sins and Lilith (New York City Opera), Nicholas and Alexandra (Los Angeles Opera), Hotel Cassiopeia, Under Construction, systems/layers (director/choreographer), Antigone, Trojan Women, Freshwater, Who Do You Think You Are?, American Document (with the Martha Graham Dance Co.) A Rite (with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co.) and Café Variations. Barney most recently choreographed the world premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s The Oldest Boy for Lincoln Center Theater.

Learn more about SITI (co-artistic directors, Anne Bogart + Ellen Lauren)

Image: Ivan Talijancic. Photo credit:  Maria Baranova

Image: Ivan Talijancic. Photo credit: Maria Baranova

IVAN TALIJANCIC (Artistic Director, CCA | Contemporary Performance Practices)

Ivan Talijancic is a time-based artist, educator and cultural producer working at the intersection of theater, performance, dance, music, film, video, installation art, new media, fundraising/development, curatorship and journalism in New York City and around the globe. Ivan completed his MFA in Directing from Columbia University / School of the Arts in New York City before co-founding WaxFactory, an international multidisciplinary theater for which he staged performance projects at numerous venues and festivals in New York such as PS122, Abrons Arts Center, Lincoln Center, and internationally at the ICA (London), Gulbenkian Museum (Lisbon), Centre Pompidou (Paris) and Adelaide Festival (Australia), among others. His first feature film, 416 MINUTES is currently in post-production. 

Alongside his work with WaxFactory, Ivan has maintained a dynamic career as an educator, having served on faculties at New York University / Playwrights Horizons Theatre School’s Devised Theatre Program, Barnard College, Brown University etc., and taught workshops nationally and internationally at Towson University (Baltimore), Fundateneo (Venezuela), Centro Julio Le Parc (Argentina), Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal), Center for Drama Art (Croatia), among others.. He co-created the MINDFLOCK training method, which he teaches with the choreographer Alexandra Beller, and has recently been named the artistic director of Contemporary Performance Practices at the CCA/Creative Cultural Alliance, a European NGO dedicated to cultural exchanges and life-long-learning initiatives. As a writer, he contributes to several publications, including BOMB magazine, the Brooklyn Rail, HowlRound and Bachtrack (London.)

Learn more about WAXFACTORY (artistic co-directors, Ivan Talijancic + Erika Latta)