On a 23-meter high needle adorns a giant jewel beetle, pinned against the clouds in front of the university library of Leuven. The artwork of the Beatle is made by Jan Fabre, a world-famous Belgian multidisciplinary artist.
The jewel beetle artwork that goes under the name of Totem is a gift from the university to the city, on the occasion of its 575th anniversary. The university wanted long-lasting quality and invited the artist in 2000 to design the concept. Jan Fabre got a wild card for the design. He found the ideas in drawings he made years ago. During a walk through the city, Jan Fabre ruled that the Ladeuzeplein was the best place for the giant jewel beetle.
Jan Fabre explains his concept: The beetle is the memory of nature, a kind of senior computer world, a radar of human existence. The total work of art refers to a collection, a collection of insects pinpricks pricked and reversed. Importantly, the relationship with the university: collective memory of man, a building with a collection of books and knowledge. Totem would like to pay tribute to the knowledge, beauty, in short, to the poetry of existence.