Ilad of the Bic Art, the Bic Art Room

Jan Fabre


Performance, 3 days and 3 nights.

22 - 24.1.1981
Leiden, Salon Odessa

Jan Fabre lets himself be locked in for three days and three nights in an entirely white room, with white clothes and white food. He cultivates boredom as a source of art. During this period he covers the room and himself in words and signs.


'My room, the Salon 'O' Gallery, is almost ready

for three days and three nights without sleep
and with no difference between day and night.
Everything is white, even the food.
Three cameras will film me day and night.
No privacy.'

(Jan Fabre, Leiden, 20 January 1981)

'(Noted down in the Bic Art Room, copied
I think it's night.
I'm losing awareness of time
and can't sleep,
but there's nothing wrong.
I'm starting to draw more and more out of boredom.
I've even drawn a rug on the floor next
to my bed.

I think it's the early morning.
The notion of art as cultivated boredom
is starting to take hold.
My concentration is enhanced.
I'm covering my clothes with drawings, a mixture
of war camouflage and chameleon motifs.
I'm covering my body with drawings
of nonexistent organs.
I look like a Flemish aboriginal.'

(Leiden, 21 January 1981)

'I think it’s the next day.
I’m very alert and lucid,
probably from not sleeping.
I note every sensation in my body.
My body is like a laboratory
on overtime

I think it’s evening.
I’ve started drawing a big Dali moustache
on the white walls.
My skull is overheated
and sometimes I cry for no reason.
I’m drawing constantly
(it doesn’t matter what I draw, as long as I’m drawing I’m alive).

I think it’s night.
I’m drawing a big Ilad moustache
on the wall opposite my bed.
I’m drawing rugs on the floor under all the
It’s as if I were an Indian
(one with no wigwam or tribe).'

(Jan Fabre, Leiden, 22 January 1981)

'I’ve lost all sense of time.
I masturbate, I eat, I shit and I draw.
There is no mirror, but my face is covered
in patches of blue Bic ink
because my hands are completely blue
(an Indian preparation for war).
I’ve become a drawing machine.
My heart beats in my temples.
My fingers are tingling and my muscles are tensing.
But I’m on a lucid trip.
I’m gone.
Sometimes I disappear and come back and I’ve done a drawing
that astonishes me.

I talk to myself out loud,
I scream at the living
and whisper to the dead.
I don’t have any music,
but I still dance a lot while I’m drawing.
My skull is burning
and my mouth is constantly dry.
I’ve made my tongue blue with Bic ink
(I wanted to change from a street dog into a pedigree dog).

I wake up with a start,
I’ve been asleep,
no idea how long.

I carry on drawing.

I want the white room to be full of blue drawings.
I also draw various butterflies and insects in every little corner.
Artificiality know no bounds
and the imagination is hot and burning
like my body.'

(Jan Fabre, Leiden, 23 January 1981)

'It’s one o’clock in the night.
Today was the opening of the Bic Art Room,
from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There were lots of people.
I was physically present, but mentally totally absent.
I still haven’t fully realised what I’ve created.
I need to stand back.
I’m too tired.
(Perhaps to me art is a matter of the physical
experience. To be understood mentally afterwards.
Will these words become the intellectual alibi
or the artistic discours?)'

(Jan Fabre, Leiden, 25 January 1981)

'I don’t feel the difference between a Wednesday
and a Sunday.
All that exists are the dates when the projects start
and finish.'

(Jan Fabre, Leiden, 26 January 1981)


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