I just got an email from my friend Johan Sevenants with whom I just had dinner at a Thai restaurant in Leuven. I told him I wrote about the Leuven Library on my blog so he was not only thoughtful enough to check it out but he gave me info on the spiked bug shown in front of the Library. Here's his email:
On your blog, you wonder about what you call "the fly". Actually, it's
a beetle. This is what I know about it:
The "beetle on the needle" was given to Leuven by the KUL for the
University's 575 birthday. The artist, Jan Fabre, has always been obsessed by bugs and insects. For example, aside from the needle artwork, he also covered
the ceiling of the royal palace's "mirror room" with thousands of beetles
painted in green.
If you look closely, you'll notice it's really a 400x enlarged version
of a needle (23 m high) on which the (3 m) beetle is stuck. The needle
itself "sticks" in the blue sky.
Several explanations exist:
- It represents the insect collection the artist made in childhood.
- It is a symbol of science and knowledge, thus representing the
- "Insect collection" as in "book collection" (of the library.)
- the beetle is a species that already exists 400 million years, so its
"memory of nature" clearly outspans man's "memory through book
the library again.
Or you can make up any meaning you like, for example; "giant fallus
stuck too deep, poor bug"
Ok, maybe I'll get on your blog now and become world famous. (you just have,
Johan! And at some point I'll find a photo of you to go with your blog donation.)