Jan Fabre

Entwistle Gallery

In much recent artwork involving casts of found objects—certain sculptures by Kiki Smith or Rachel Whiteread, for example—one can’t help wondering whether a “host” form has been suffocated inside a tomblike cast, as much as it has been preserved. While he may not use a casting process, Jan Fabre deploys clothing, another kind of shell, to equally ambiguous and ominous effect. The Flemish artist has recently been constructing costumes out of an unusual material: beetles. Tightly packed together on iron-wire armatures, the insects form garments that resemble monks’ frocks and beekeepers’ uniforms, replete with cowls. In Fabre’s recent show these costumes were choreographed into stately but animated poses, and they were cantilevered from the wall so that they appeared to hover in the air. A large, nestlike pod, also made of beetles, hung opposite.

Fabre’s long-standing interest in bugs has

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