La représentation panique dans le théâtre de Jan Fabre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Authors:
  • Amélie Mons


Jan Fabre’s theatre was and still is a controversial one. Pretentious, elitist, too intellectual according to some, it is also seen as populist and demagogic for others. The Flemish artist divides his audience in a radical way. It is this very gap, this “incoherence” in the multiple criticisms this theatre receives that makes us think that while this form of contemporary art is maybe detested it is fore and foremost maybe not always well understood. It is indeed uneasy to apprehend a theatre that deconstructs the process of representation when the audience has been used to discussing representation and representation only. I would like to review these critiques; see how they avoid the real issues at stake, in order to show an actual lack of critical means, a lack of analytical tools, which would allow us to justly critique an innovative theatre. But most of all, I want to propose a different perspective. It is with the use of the philosophy of the French intellectual Clément Rosset, that I wish to introduce a perhaps more suitable approach. This theatre does not represent the real; it tries to be as close as possible to it. The objects on stage start to refer to themselves. In a very similar way, the concept of “représentation panique” developed by Rosset refers to a situation where a “coincidence” happens between the thing and its representation. This will help to overcome the paradox established by Jan Fabre: that of a world free from representations, yet taking place on a theatrical stage.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Early online date27 Feb 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Feb 2019