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Jan Fabre “Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch in Congo”, Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo 「ヤン・ファーブル -エスパス ルイ・ヴィトン東京 /表参道」

Jan Fabre is holding “Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch in Congo (2011–2013)” a selection of mosaics, skulls and bird sculptures in Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo.

Jan Fabre

Fabre is a contemporary Belgian visual artist, theatre maker and author who works with materials as diverse as bic ballpoint pens to his own blood and, in this case, beetle wings.

Jan Fabre

The mosaics are beautiful and huge. As you walk around them they glow in a greenish-blue light, depending on the angle from which you view them.

Jan Fabre

Venturing on Slippery Iron (2013)

“This exhibition draws its inspiration from the harsh colonial policy Fabre’s homeland of Belgium imposed upon Congo in the 19th century. Fabre has represented the “darkness” hidden behind policies such as slavery and the looting of gold and gambling that contributed to Belgian civilization, using the fables and lessons contained in the triptych Garden of Earthly Delights, painted by the early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch” 

– Extract from Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo Official Website

The mosaics are complemented with skulls and bird sculptures also covered with the shiny green wings of the scarab beetle

Jan Fabre

Jan Fabre

Skull with the Tool of Power (2013)

Jan Fabre

Skull with Ice Skate (2013)

Jan Fabre

Skull with Machete I (2013)

Jan Fabre

The Pecker at the Sap of Life (2015)

What at first seems alluring, it quickly changes into sadness and a bit of horror when you think about how many insects have been killed to construct these art pieces. I didn’t ask how many beetles were used for this exhibition but for his work “Heaven of Delight” (2002) a ceiling in the Hall of Mirrors at the Royal Palace in Brussels, the artist used  1.4 million jewel beetle shells.

Jan Fabre

Fabre says he has obtained the beetles from universities and connections he has in the open market. These insects are a non-protected species that are abundant in certain countries like Thailand where the beetle is fried for consumption and its shell is discarded.

The use of live or dead animals in art spaces is certainly not a new phenomenon (think about Kounellis’s horses and Beuys’s coyote) but I still find these pieces cruel.


I’d like to thank Espace Louis Vuitton’s staff who kindly let me shoot in their beautiful art space… ありがとうございます.

Many thanks to fellow blogger Andreea from Littleaesthete for letting me know about this exhibition.


How to get there (Map via Espace Louis Vuitton Official Website)

map Espace Louis Vuitton


Louis Vuitton Omotesando Bldg. 7F 5-7-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Tel 03-5766-1094, Admission Free. ENDS SEPTEMBER 23rd, 2015 Jan Fabre Official Website HERE




All photos on this blog were snapped by me unless otherwise noted. If you see something you’d like to share, please be sure to provide a link back to this space. Thank you!


  1. Pepe says

    This looks an incredible exhibition…I would stay for hours meditating on what these pieces represent.

    Fantastic post, thank you.

    • Happy to know that you enjoyed this post. To be honest, I have mixed feeling about the media used by the artist. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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