He studied at the Municipal Institute of Decorative Arts and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Between 1976 and 1980 he wrote his first scripts for the theatre. From 1980 he began his career as a stage director and stage designer.
Fabre is famous for his Bic-art (ballpoint drawings). In 1990, he covered an entire building with ballpoint drawings.
His decoration of the ceiling of the Royal Palace in Brussels is called Heaven of Delight. It is made out of one million six hundred thousand jewel-scarab wing cases. In 2008, Jan Fabre's The Angel of Metamorphosis exhibition was held at the Louvre Museum.
In September 2018, Fabre was accused by 20 former employees of sexual harassment.