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Art Imitating Art Imitating Life

September 07, 2015
Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch in Congo (2011-2013) by Jan Fabre
It’s probably safe to assume that the Early Netherlandish master, Hieronymus Bosch, never set foot in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, that didn’t stop celebrated Belgian multi-media artist Jan Fabre in drawing inspiration from the Dutchman’s most famous triptych – the fantastical and macabre Garden of Earthly Delights.

Expanding on the masterpiece’s themes, Fabre presents a creative and critical response to his homeland’s brutal colonial past, while at the same time paying homage to the artist that influenced him in Tribute to Hieronymus Bosch in Congo (2011-2013).

Displayed for the first time in Japan within Omotesando’s Jun Aoki-designed Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo, the exhibition assembles six kaleidoscopic mosaics, four skulls and four bird sculptures.

Glimmering green and reflecting the light that streams in from every angle, the works emanate a strange beauty that, upon closer inspection, reveals a profound darkness hidden beneath. For, instead of the traditional coloured-glass technique, each of the 14 beguiling pieces has been painstakingly crafted from the wing cases of countless jewel beetles.

The result is at once morbid and alluring and explores the relationship between beauty and horror so often seen in the Early Modern works of Bosch, while at the same time decrying the Congo’s treatment at the hands of its Belgian settlers.

Until 23 Sep, 2015.

7/F / Louis Vuitton Omotesando Bldg / 5-7-5 Jingumae / Shibuya-ku / +81 3 5766 1094 / 12:00 pm-8:00 pm daily /