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Angel of Death

Jan Fabre + Eric Sleichim + William Forsythe

In 1996, the artist, dramatist, choreographer and writer Jan Fabre wrote a piece inspired by the American artist Andy Warhol. He subtitled it a monologue for a man, a woman or a hermaphrodite.

Angel of Death is the encounter between three spirits through the author’s pen.

A new composition by the composer and saxophonist Eric Sleichim will, with a musical addition, give extra significance to the whole. This set-up is a new experiment in Jan Fabre’s work for the stage.

Jan Fabre: concept, direction, text and choreography
Ivana Jozic: performer and choreography
Eric Sleichim: composition & live performance baritone saxophone and electronics
William Forsythe: film performer

Geert Van der Auwera, Jelle Moerman: technical direction
Musée d’Anatomie (Montpellier, France): film location
Troubleyn/Jan Fabre (Antwerp, Belgium): production
deSingel (Antwerp, Belgium): co-production

with thanks to bloet vzw, Jan Vrints & Roger Leclercq (camera film), Jan Decoster (performance film), Miet Martens (assistant to Jan Fabre), Gert Wuyts (sound film)

the text of Angel of Death was published by l’Arche Editeur, Paris (1996)


29 Mar
Brussel / Bruxelles (BE)
28 Mar
Brussel / Bruxelles (BE)
27 Mar
Brussel / Bruxelles (BE)
26 Mar
Brussel / Bruxelles (BE)
25 Mar
Brussel / Bruxelles (BE)
20 Mar
Troubleyn Theater
Antwerpen (BE)
18 Sep
Zagreb (HR)
12 May
Istanbul (TR)
06 Apr
Stockholm (SE)
24 Oct
Sarajevo (BA)
13 Oct
Rio de Janeiro (BR)
08 Oct
Bolzano (IT)
05 Oct
Trento (IT)
02 Feb
Brussel - Bruxelles (BE)
09 Jul
Avignon (FR)
04 Apr
Vienna (AT)
05 Dec
Antwerpen (BE)
02 Oct
Pontadera (IT)
09 Jul
org. Festival d'Avignon
Avignon (FR)

More about Angel of Death

Fabre had previously shown an interest in the ideas of this influential, androgynous artist’s artist. In the theatre production Universal Copyrights 1 & 9, for example, where he explicitly raised the subject of copiability and thus questioned the concept of authenticity. In 1997 Warhol appeared in the form of an almost perfect lookalike in Glowing Icons, the third part of Fabre’s trilogy of the body, devoted to the erotic body, the body that possesses an eternal aura and is condemned to immortality as in the case of collective heroes who become icons. This monologue also deals with this topic, but with the addition of a more intimate examination, by way of the language metaphor.

Angel of Death is the encounter between three spirits through the author’s pen. In addition to Warhol there is also the spirit of William Forsythe, to whom this piece is dedicated. Forsythe is the pioneering choreographer of Ballet Frankfurt, and himself an outstanding dancer. Fabre saw a kinship between the two, starting with the physical aspect.

Lastly there are Fabre’s personal fascinations, such as transformation, the beauty of gender (and therefore of the hermaphroditic too), and double identity, and the contradiction of being an artist, balancing between publicness, fame and the longing for anonymity and seclusion. This provides the substance for a meeting of three “spirits”. Layer by layer, the elusive “I person’ takes shape through the interweaving of observation, identification, the quotation of famous statements by “Drella” and interpretations of Warhol’s, Fabre’s and Forsythe’s own lives. The I-figure goes back and forth between the meaning, which reaches out a hand to an audience, and withdrawal into ambiguities and questions. It seems as if he is in a post mortem state, in a time vacuum, both living and dead, where he reveals and conceals himself and reassembles his identity. In the end comes the wish to dance and forget oneself. The enigma maintains itself…

In the way the piece is staged, Jan Fabre foresees a new confrontation with the text in the form of a live, animated video installation. It consists of four monumental video walls set up symmetrically in a square. Inside the square, seating is set up on all sides that runs down to a small stage on which the Croation dancer Ivana Jozic, enters into dialogue with what she sees on the screens, which is a film of William Forsythe dancing and reciting the text of Angel of Death in the anatomical museum in Montpellier. These images communicate with each other between individual screens: they dissolve and show various camera angles or points of view. The second interaction will arise by the intervention of the performer in the middle, who will respond to the video sequence in language and gesture.