Jan Fabre to curate Athens International Festival
Antwerp artist Jan Fabre has been appointed curator of the Athens and Epidaurus International Festival for the next four years.
“His first act on accepting was to change the festival’s name.”
[He has been given a great honour by the Hellenic (Greek) government and respectively the whole nation, so why is it that the first thing he does is change the name of a national cultural festival from national: “Hellenic” to local: “Athens and Epidaurus”? Is he trying to de-nationalize a national institution? What is he afraid of?]
This year, organisers said, will consist of a tribute to the arts and culture of Belgium – a decision taken before last week’s terrorist attacks made international headlines. Fabre will work with his own team, which includes Sigrid Bousset, former director of literature organisation Passa Porta and adviser to Flemish cultural minister Sven Gatz, and Bart De Baere, former director of Antwerp’s contemporary arts museum M HKA.
“This small country is my home and haven,” said Fabre in a statement. “Born and bred in Belgium, I have developed my artistic practice here, as a portal to the rest of the world. Belgium, because many internationally acclaimed artists were nurtured here.”
The next two years will be more international, but will still focus on artists who have worked with Fabre, with at least one-third being Greek. In 2018, Fabre will present a new performance featuring the French actor Isabelle Huppert. In his last year, he said, he would like to create an original performance based on a classical Greek theme.
Fabre, a stage artist as well as a visual artist, has produced many stage productions using themes from Greek mythology, including Prometheus-Landscape II, in which he portrays the Titan as tortured by a humankind that squanders the light with which he has provided them. Fabre’s more recent Mount Olympus is a 24-hour production that relates several tales from Greek mythology.
“During my four years as curator of the Athens and Epidaurus International Festival, I hope to build bridges and encourage dialogue,” Fabre said. “I hope to make the festival representative of the multicultural society in which it is staged, a festival that acts as a mirror of the world as well as a self-contained parallel universe, where diversity does not prove to be a problem, but a promise – for better art, a better future and a better world.”
Photo: Evi Fylaktou/Athens Epidaurus Festival