Jan Fabre – Spiritual Guards


Searching for Utopia in Piazza della Signoria

By Carleigh Koger

Jan Fabre’s exhibition titled “Spiritual Guards” of multiple pieces creates a powerful visual experience. His works are inspired by ideas of deities, security, and strength. The large-scale bronze sculpture, Searching for Utopia, evoke a strong sense of transcendence among the marble statues. This piece sits in the center of the Piazza della Signoria. It is composed of a man riding a giant turtle, all made out of bronze. The man is actually the artist himself, thus making himself immortal through his art. Another piece, The Man Who Measures the Clouds, stands between the copies of David and Judith. This is of a man on a short ladder, holding a measuring stick high up against the sky, also made out of bronze. The marble material of the ancient statues contrast with the novelty of the shiny bronze sculptures. They stand out from the historic masterpieces and hold their own importance. Each piece has a sense of heroism because the characters appear confident or brave in their actions. Putting himself in such a highly respected space is a bold move, as he casts himself like one of the significant figures. The public space gives the audience an advantage to interact with the pieces, allowing more room to explore all angles of the work.  The exhibition continues at Forte di Belvedere and the Palazzo Vecchio, with more bronze characters and beautiful iridescent scarabs on display. The beetle represents a “warrior” or a “guard”, successfully fitting the title of the exhibition. His works emit an eerie vibe, yet stimulating feelings of wonder and excitement.