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Jef Geys (1934-2018)

Jef Geys

The work of Jef Geys (1934-2018) constitutes one of the undisclosed territorialities of the neo-avant-garde, of which the artist gave the international art world a cryptic overview in 2002, within the largest platform for self-promotion: documenta in Kassel. The 36-hour-long projection Day and Night and Day was widely mentioned for its duration but hardly for the way it exposed an entire lifetime trajectory, for its manic exhibitory quality combined with its anti-narrativity.

All the photographs that Geys made until 1998 passed by in a photo-filmic overflow that laid out the scope of what he considered as constitutive of his practice. Blurring the lines between the different environments of his topographical or social operations, his pictures were made in his home-town in rural Balen, but also during holiday trips, at the school where he taught ‘positive aesthetics’ from 1966 to 1989, during regional socio-cultural and political actions, and in the depicted sceneries in the Belgian and international art worlds.

Subverting categorisations was a typical gesture for his generation, which used extradisciplinarity as a way to expose the conformism of stylistic and formal classifications based on academic criteria. Jef Geys positively echoed such practices in his tendency to archive and recollect knowledge. His presentations in exhibitions showed a diagrammatical organisation of his research in the form of laconic observations of phenomena, facts and documents. However, his display eluded any kind of narrative or communicative turn by leaving out titles and legends, following an erratic organisation and providing cryptic, hermetic information about what the (photographic) documents represented. Rather than being a mere documentation or proof of a visual fact, the slow sequence of images at documenta became more of a cinematic reverie with a deep autobiographical scope. The use of juxtaposition as a serial and de-dramatizing device, as well as the absence of careful framing and composition, installed Jef Geys’ work along the line of early conceptual photography, with its insistence on the indexical and the document, diagrammatic grids, and the substitution of professional media skills by an impersonal, factual or dilettantish imprint.

For those interested in the entire article on this gifted artist please visit the author: has a scarce item which features Jerf Geys available.

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Jan Fabre and BIC art


Fabre’s fame began when he was making 100% blue drawings with a BIC ballpoint pen ( 1980). It was the early eighties , but before that he shook the art scene with making drawings with his own blood ( 1978) .Since he made stage designs for plays and dance, movies and many more drawings and objects and of course sculptures….extremely large sculptures. Jan Fabre is considered one of the greatest living artist in Europe.

A short introduction to one of the greatest Belgian artist from this time. For me Fabre and Panamarenko will be remembered as the great Belgian artist from the last part of the 20th century. Both imaginative in their own way and both highly original with an own signature.

There is a huge list of all his activities during the last 3 decades, but the best way to get an impression of Jan Fabre is to read what Wikipedia says about him and visit his site afterwards


There is a large selection of Fabre titles available at

Wikipedia text:

Fabre is famous for his Bic-art (ballpoint drawings). In 1990, he covered an entire building with ballpoint drawings.

He explores the relationships between drawing and sculpture. He also makes sculptures in bronze (among them The man who measures the clouds and Searching for Utopia) and with beetles.

His decoration of the ceiling of the Royal Palace in Brussels Heaven of Delight (made out of one million six hundred thousand jewel-scarab wing cases) is widely praised. In 2004 he erected Totem, a giant bug stuck on a 70-foot steel needle, on the Ladeuzeplein in Leuven.

In 2008, Jan Fabre’s The Angel of Metamorphosis exhibition was held at the Louvre Museum.

On 26 October 2012, several media reported how during a shoot in the Antwerp town hall for a forthcoming film on Fabre, living cats were thrown repeatedly several meters spinning into the air, after which they made a hard landing on the steps of the entrance hall. Animal welfare executive chairman Luc Bungeneers said he was having a meeting with his party chairman when he heard howling cats. “To my horror, we found cats were being assaulted in the name of art”, Bungeneers said. “It went on for several hours.” The filming was eventually aborted after protests from the crew’s own technicians. Later that day, Fabre claimed all cats were still in good health and it was a conspiracy of the political party NVA.[1][2][3][4] Mr. Fabre has received 20,000 emails slamming his act. He has also been attacked seven times by men carrying clubs whilst out jogging in the park and been forced to sleep in a different location every night. Antwerp’s deputy mayor for animal wellbeing and the animal rights organisation Global Action in the Interest of Animals also launched complaints about Mr Fabre’s controversial act.

On February 2016, Jan Fabre was appointed by the Greek Ministry of Culture as the Creative Director of the annual Athens – Epidaurus Festival.[5] He resigned less than two months later, on the 2nd of April 2016, after a huge controversy over his plan to turn Greece’s major arts festival into “a tribute to Belgium” and devote eight of the festival’s ten productions to those from his homeland.[6]

In September 2016 Fabre made an attempt to not break cyclist Eddy Merckx‘s 1972 hour record at the Tête d’Or Velodrome in Lyon. Fabre completed a total of 23 km in an hour, compared to Merckx’s record of over 49 km. The attempt was commentated on by Merckx, fellow cyclist Raymond Poulidor, and veteran cycling commentator Daniel Mangeas[7] and was performed as the opening of his “Stigmata” retrospective exhibition organised by the Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon.[8] Fabre described the attempt as “how to remain a dwarf in the land of giants”.[9]