The Man Who Measures the Clouds


Artwork Data

Production year: 1998
Media and technique: bronze
Size: H285 ×W120×D80cm

About the Artwork

This work was inspired by Birdman of Alcatraz (1961, USA), a film based on the true story of a man who kept birds in his cell while imprisoned in solitary confinement and became an ornithologist. At the film’s end, when the man, who has been denied permission to continue his research, is asked about his future plans, he replies: “I am going to measure the clouds.” The artwork takes its title from this line. Although modeled after the artist himself, The Man Who Measures the Clouds also pays homage to his late twin brother. It is thus a work blending various elements—human life and death, natural science, and the poetic gesture of “measuring the clouds.”

About the Artist


Born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1958. Lives there. Jan Fabre is known for creations that cut across the genres of art, theater, opera, and performance. A continuing investigation of life and death is the theme informing all facets of Fabre’s art production, whether drawings based on his observation of insects and spiders, sculptural works that employ dead or stuffed animals, or performances using blood and salt.