a safe haven for the arts, created by and for artists:
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(Pastorijstraat 23, 2060 Antwerp) has been the operating base of Jan Fabre and his company Troubleyn/Jan Fabre since 2007. This former 'Ringtheater' (owned by the actor Julien Schoenaerts), annexing a school building, was destroyed by a fire in 1974 and has been rebuilt (by architect Jan Dekeyser) with the help of subsidies from the Flemish Community and Antwerp City Council.

            "The weathered brick walls of the school and theatre volume, the concrete grooves in the old theatre balconies, the crumbling and charred stucco, the end wall of the theatre building with its bricked-up holes … are perhaps anonymous and anecdotal fractures and wounds, but they show that there can be no creation without destruction, without history."
Arch. Jan Dekeyser

This complex (about 2,500m²) has two rehearsal rooms of production proportions with integrated performer facilities. These include a rehearsal theatre with a 12.5 metre curtain with a stage of 17 x 12 metres and a spacious multipurpose studio with a floor of 10 x 8 metres, parquet, and natural daylight.

Troubleyn/Laboratorium is situated on the edge of the so-called "Seefhoek", a working-class district of Antwerp and Jan Fabre’s birthplace! It is known as an ‘area under development’. Troubleyn/Laboratorium can be a driving force behind the social redevelopment of Seefhoek. The very presence and commitment of a renowned international artist like Jan Fabre and his company and the daily contact with local people, catering establishments, and traders play a strategic part in this respect.

Moreover, what makes Troubleyn/Laboratorium special is the collection of integrated and permanent works of art, which are part of the building. There are works on show from Marina Abramović ‘07, Chantal Akerman ‘08, Ben Benaouisse ‘13, Guillaume Bijl ‘07, Michaël Borremans ‘10, Dirk Braeckman ‘07, Romeo Castellucci ‘07, Hugo Claus ‘07, Jan Cremer ‘13, Berlinde De Bruyckere ‘10, Peter De Cupere ‘10, Carl De Keyzer ‘07, Luc Deleu ‘07, Wim Delvoye ‘07, Robert Devriendt ‘10, Braco Dimitrijević ‘07, Bruna Esposito ‘07, Jan Fabre ‘87-‘07, Michel François ‘08, Alberto Garutti ‘07, Stefan Hertmans ‘07, Irwin collectief ‘90-‘12, Stef Kamil Carlens ‘08, Jan Lauwers ‘07, Antun Maračić ‘08, Attilio Maranzano ‘08, Kris Martin ‘07, Enrique Marty ‘07, Tjen Meylemans '15, Jorge Molder ‘12, Johan Muyle ‘04, Maryam Najd ‘08, Orlan ‘07, Mikes Poppe '15, Pascal Rambert ‘15, Bernardi Roig, Matthias Schoenaerts ‘07, Rob Scholte ‘07, Chiharu Shiota ’15, Paul Sochacki ‘13, Nedko Solakov ‘12, Berend Strik ‘07, Ritsaert ten Cate ‘03, Luc Tuymans ‘07, Erik Van de Mert ‘07, Koen van den Broek ‘10, Johan Van Geluwe ‘10, Hans van Houwelingen ‘07, Jan Van Imschoot ‘07, Joep Van Lieshout ‘10, Wim Vandekeybus ‘08, Koen Vanmechelen ‘07, Angel Vergara ‘13, Peter Verhelst ‘07, Fabien Verschaere ‘12, Henk Visch ‘07, Bob Wilson ’07.

This list of artists grows longer each year...

Guided tours, by appointment only (!) are organised regularly throughout the year. As well as giving the history of the building and introducing the company’s work, company members take the public on a journey through the more than 70 works of art which are inextricably intertwined with the building.

These guided tours are designed for groups of between 10 and 20 people. 

► More information via mark.geurden at

The richly illustrated publication "Troubleyn/Laboratorium" offers a unique view inside the building and gives a list of the works of art. It also covers the history of this ‘little Bourla' and the contribution made by Troubleyn/Jan Fabre. 

                "Just by leafing through the book, with Nadia Sels, Frank Peeters, Luk Van den Dries, and Koen Van Synghel as easy-going guides who give more insight into the works, the building, and the language of Fabre in six short and readable essays, you can roam through the magnificent property where a touching, amusing, or disruptive image lurks behind every corner, in every room, or in every corridor. Why isn’t every house designed in such inspirational fashion? It shows Fabre as someone with a genuinely great love of the arts. A heart that beats just as fast at night as during the day.’

(Els Van Steenberghe in Knack, April 2016)

► More information about this publication by Mercatorfonds can be found here.