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Belgian Artist Jan Fabre Is on the Lam After Cat-Throwing Performance

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If Jan Fabre thought that you couldn’t go wrong with a cat video, he had another thing coming. The provocative Belgian artist now fears for his safety and is spending each night at a different address after animal rights activists objected to a filmed performance he organized at Antwerp’s city hall, Libération reports.

The performance involved people tossing cats up into the air, with the animals meowing as if in distress and at times landing heavily on the steps. It was based on an earlier performance that Fabre re-created for a French crew that is making a film about him. Part of the video was posted on the internet (and is embedded below), and complaints were filed by Luc Bungeneers, Antwerp’s deputy mayor for animal well-being, and the animal rights organization GAIA.

According to Libération, Fabre issued the following apology on the Flemish-language television station VRT: “I am deeply sorry that the cats landed badly. I want to apologize to cat lovers. It was not my intention to injure or hurt the cats. The cats are fine.” However, in a separate interview on the French-language station RTBF, he stated that the incident was “sensationalized” and “exaggerated.”

According to Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique, Fabre has received 20,000 hate emails and was physically attacked by seven men armed with a club while jogging in the park. Although many media outlets are reporting that the artist is now under police protection, this is apparently not true. As the crew continues filming, “we will simply be on the alert in case of any demonstrations,” the Antwerp police department told La Libre Belgique. “But Mr. Fabre has not yet filed a complaint.”

Watch video of the making of Fabre’s cat-throwing project:

— Kate Deimling

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  1. The video seems to have been removed from YouTube. It’s a shame: I really would have like to be able to form an opinion on the matter, being 1)Belgian and quite fond of Jan Fabre’s work and 2) a cat lover.

  2. @Pauline: Thanks for pointing that out. We’ve embedded a different YouTube user’s version of the same clip. Hopefully it will remain available.

  3. You are disgusting and ruthless!! I hope you get hung and thrown off a cliff!!!! Karma will come back at you!!!!!!!!

  4. This is art? Mr. Fabre, enjoy your publicity. Also enjoy having to run and hide. I have no sympathy for you.

  5. by Marie Klemens

    This is a evil man, he deserves everything coming to him! May the whole world know that you are an Asshole! You will get your day you evil prick!

  6. What a heartless jackass to say the cats were not injured by this torture….they were panicked and terrified!

  7. Throwing cats up stairs, all in the name of ‘ art ‘ ? Well, let’s see, Mr. Fabre. Let’s throw you up a flight or two of stairs, of course, all in the name of art. Then, let’s see how you like it. I’m not a cat lover. I don’t hate cats; I just like dogs more. But, even I wouldn’t stoop to something that mean. I hope that, in the next life, you come back as a cat toy, or something that a cat would shred. All, of course, in the name of fun.

  8. The so-called performance that Jan Fabre did was stupid, shameful and pathetic. This is not ‘art’ at all. Despite that worldwide attention might be drawn to him now, all comments are negative and definitely he is not welcome to the world of art in particular. For anyone like Jan Fabre who does not respect ‘life’, he deserves no respect neither. It is suggested that he should enroll himself back to school to start anew learning what ‘art’ & ‘life’ really are. NO LIFE CAN BE SPARED UNDER ANY EXCUSES AND/OR CIRCUMSTANCES.

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