As part of the city-wide ‘Antwerp Baroque 2018’ festival, artist Jan Fabre has been invited to create three new altarpieces for Antwerp’s St Augustine’s Church, now the home of the international cultural and music centre AMUZ. In fulfilling this prestigious commission Fabre is following in the illustrious footsteps of Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens and Anthony van Dyck, who were asked to produce an altarpiece each in 1628.
This handsomely illustrated book brings to life the origin, history and richness of these works of art in all their subtlety. Fabre’s extraordinary triptych, The Monastic Performance, The Mystic Contract and The Ecstatic Recording is truly breathtaking. Specially conceived, the works form an apotheosis of core elements from his oeuvre, including the lamb, fire, woman, spirituality, and his love of Antwerp, represented by the diamond motif.
In this sumptuous Mercatorfonds publication, Barbara De Coninck, Joanna De Vos, Jenke Van den Akkerveken and Els Wuyts take an investigative trip through the iconography and meaning of the individual altarpieces. Starting from Fabre’s preparatory collage drawings we follow the construction and metamorphosis of the mosaics. Paul Huvenne’s connective essay makes a detailed comparison between Fabre’s contemporary interpretations and the Baroque originals, with reference to the particular history of St Augustine’s Church. And Joost Vander Auwera discovers surprising parallels between Fabre, Jordaens and Van Dyck.
Via intensive physical perception and its concomitant desire and suff ering, he seduces his public with emotions: delirium, decay and, conversely, sheer beauty and the divine nature of an apotheosis.