Jan Fabre’s company Troubleyn celebrates 30th anniversary


Documentaries, a book, performances and a historic solo show at Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum are on the agenda during a year of celebrations for the Flemish artist

Multi-disciplinary madness

Thirty years after he founded the Troubleyn theatre and dance company, Jan Fabre, one of Flanders’ most famous living artists, is celebrating with a year of events.

Many will be held in the former Ring Theatre in Antwerp’s Seefhoek neighbourhood, which Fabre acquired in 2007. The building, now called Troubleyn/Laboratorium, houses a team of 20 performers and provides Fabre with the space he needs for his multidisciplinary work. 

First up is the launch of The Box – a set of 17 CDs containing five documentaries about the artist and 12 performances, all filmed since 2000. Next month comes the publication of Troubleyn/Laboratorium. Illustrated with numerous photos, the book provides a glimpse into the company’s operations over the past decade.

In September, Fabre will become the first living artist to hold a solo show at the famous Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The installation will occupy 30 rooms and was personally commissioned by the museum’s director, Mikhail Piotrovsky. The exhibition will be curated by Dimitri Ozerkov, who was in charge of the recent renovation of the Hermitage’s contemporary art wing. 

In November and December, attention turns back to Troubleyn/Laboratorium with two events: Fabre meets Kantoor and Nachtschrijver (Night Writer). The first is a homage to Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990), Fabre’s teacher and an internationally renowned artist. It will include an exhibition of Kantor’s paintings and drawings, a film evening, workshop and a symposium. 

Nachtschrijver will see three actors bring Fabre’s idea-universe to life. The performance is based around Nachtboek I (1978-84) and Nachtboek II (1985-91) in which Fabre collected his ideas, inventions, discoveries and confessions as his imagination kept him awake at night.

Fabre’s monumental 24-hour performance piece, Mount Olympus: To Glorify the Cult of Tragedy (pictured), also continues its tour of major cities this year. Performances are scheduled in Antwerp this month and Brussels in September, and both are already sold out.