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P-ART JOURNAL

68

Artistic Beetles at the Brussels Royal Palace

Royal Palace photo © P-ART

Years ago Jan Fabre shocked the Belgian contemporary art scene with his organic biro drawings. He covered a series of pillars with slices of marbly raw ham etc.

Last year, he decorated the 19th-century Hall of Mirrors of the Brussels Royal Palace and the central chandelier with the wing cases of a million Asian jewel beetles. Fabre's project assistants glued the gleaming shells of jewel scarabs to the ceiling (which is 26 meters long and 11 meters wide) in a mosaic of multiple patterns. Depending on the angle of the light, the myriad wing cases gleam in fluorescent green or turn blue and shift again to emerald green, then to ochre or to a deep, velvet moss color. The million beetles were collected in restaurants of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand where the creatures are regarded as a delicacy. To explore nature's shapes, Fabre spent three years as artist-in-residence at the Museum of Natural History in London. There he experimented with bones, with dung beetles, jewel beetles and other insects and began to use insects and their forms in his sculptures and theatrical works.

This splendid installation of Fabre's art in Brussels is permanent. You can visit Fabre's mosaics during the summerdays: from 22th July till August in the Royal Palace.

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