Jan Fabre's early oeuvre can be roughly divided into two: works with insects and works made with a ballpoint. The present lot merges both aspects.
The seemingly endless task to fill a sheet of paper of the current size with just a Bic-ballpoint was regular routine for Fabre. The use of ballpoint pen is more than just a "gimmick". The blue line originates in daily experiences. Scribbling is part of everybody's daily experience, mostly they have an uncontrolled aspect. In his large format drawings Fabre renders a new dimension to these scribbles. From a distance, the blue plane seems just that, until the viewer steps forward and the separate lines disentangle themselves, making it clear that the plane is not evenly filled and that the artist through the medium used has not only coloured the sheet, but has also created a structure because of the scribbling on the sheet. In this vast blue sea, Fabre has placed two delicate walking leaves in the centre.
The fascination with insects and science in general originated in his youth, when, influenced by the research carried out by the entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre (1823-1915), there was nothing he liked more than to study the world of insects and other creatures, even dissecting their tiny bodies and transforming them into new creatures.
Though apparently different in matter and meaning, for Fabre the ballpoint and the insects are both metaphors for death. Insects are a forebode for death. The insects used in his works, seem very much alive, but really are not. When they are alive, they often eat the flesh of dead animals, their presence thus announcing the presence of death. The thread between ballpoint and death is more abstract: it signifies the Hour Blue: the transcience between night and day, life and death. It is the denominator for change and dying is the most progressive change imaginable.