Johan CRETEN
Entracte
solo show
October 17
- December 19, 2020
+ add to my calendar
Paris
76 rue de Turenne

75003 Paris France








Pioneer of the ceramics’ rebirth in contemporary art, Johan Creten is back with his exhibition named Entracte, his fourth solo show at the Parisian gallery. This exhibition can be considered as a symbolic pause. It’s an invitation to reflection and a way to take a deep breath.


With Entracte the artist underlines the importance of beauty in his work, while reaffirming his humanist consciousness and the social and political resonance of his practice. This exhibition is built as a dialogue with I Peccati, his monographic exhibition at the French Academy in Rome - Villa Medici, from 15 October to 31 January 2021.

View of Johan Creten's exhibition at Perrotin Paris. Photo : ©Claire Dorn
View of Johan Creten's exhibition at Perrotin Paris. Photo : ©Claire Dorn
View of Johan Creten's exhibition at Perrotin Paris. Photo : ©Claire Dorn
View of Johan Creten's exhibition at Perrotin Paris. Photo : ©Claire Dorn
Johan CRETEN
THE HERRING, 2018
Sculpture : 154 × 50 × 43 cm | 60 5/8 × 19 11/16 × 16 15/16 inch
Pedestal : 87 × 82 × 82 cm | 34 1/4 × 32 5/16 × 32 5/16 inch
Total : 241 × 82 × 82 cm | 94 7/8 × 32 5/16 × 32 5/16 inch
Patinated bronze, lost wax casting

In the main room, several ensembles collectively form a panorama that calls to mind a marine world. Algae and shells remain identifiable motifs, swelling the iconography in the room through their graphic nature and their manner. Several emerging Venuses are spiked with still humid petals. Their finery seems to consist of a density of tonic lips fixed in the impermeability of the glaze. One can smell the tide. The feminine contours take shape in series such as Odore Di Femmina and La Perle Noire, and of course The Herring, which surveys this drenched landscape in a god-like manner.

Clay is excremental, it’s the ashes of the dead, at the same time it’s mother earth, it links the sacred and the profane, in a brutal way, disgusting and magical at the same time.



— Johan Creten (for Modern Painters)
Johan CRETEN
ODORE DI FEMMINA - SOLFATARA, 2019
Sculpture : 100 × 52 × 46 cm | 39 3/8 × 20 1/2 × 18 1/8 inch
Pedestal : 76 × 70 × 70 cm | 29 15/16 × 27 9/16 × 27 9/16 inch
Total : 176 × 70 × 70 cm | 69 5/16 × 27 9/16 × 27 9/16 inch
Glazed stoneware

Johan Creten constantly stimulates the temptation to touch. A primordial taboo in many religions, including the religion of art, contact feeds the swelling of desire, making the other senses seem like preliminaries with regard to the fulfilment it demands. The ultimate taboo often claims to preserve the status of untouchable works in contrast to the vulgarity of objects that can be grasped and handled. To caress a bronze, to touch a ceramic are acts of transgression.


Johan Creten opens up his shapes and their connotations enough not to freeze them in a single reading. The interpretations must remain malleable, from humor to disgust. He himself feeds off this ongoing quest for an image to gorge on.

View of Johan Creten's exhibition at Perrotin Paris. Photo : ©Claire Dorn

With his new series of Boulders, seven possible seats each possess a deadly sin. The installation develops a certain symmetry with its Italian counterpart on display at the Villa Medici in Rome, to which an important monograph is devoted, ostensibly entitled I Peccati. Set up in the expectation of a catch, the situation recalls the stimulating articulation between pécheur (sinner) and pêcheur (fisherman).

Johan CRETEN
GLORY - OKVIK IV, 2018
95 × 71 × 22 cm | 37 3/8 × 27 15/16 × 8 11/16 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster

The series entitled Glory testifies in particular to this act of evasion. Its golden luster prevents the gaze from anchoring itself, its luminous intensity making us skid on the reliefs. A certain dynamism operates through motion and light, affirming the kinetic component of these modules. Theirs is a penetrating perspective. It draws us into a hypnotic vortex which inhales, which exhales. The rays expand towards the baroque splendors erected to exalt the sacred, all the while contracting to pierce the most secret depths of human morphology. In the distance lies this original black hole, a gap. Let’s call it Vulva. And since everything has always passed through a slit, that is precisely where the artist wants us to begin.

To use beauty to talk about very serious subjects on a secondary level is very important to me. These hidden stories can be social, political or sexual, and these pieces open up slowly if you take the time to look at them from different angles.



— Johan Creten (for Forbes)
Johan CRETEN

Born in 1963 in Sint-Truiden, Belgium
Lives and works in Paris, France

Born in 1963 in Belgium, Johan Creten has been working on the move for twenty-five years, from Mexico to Rome, from Miami to Amsterdam, and most recently to Paris. He started working with clay in the late 1980s, when the medium was still seen as taboo in the art world: earth was deemed dirty and damp, while the creator was viewed as a usurper of God, transgressing religious interdicts. Yet clay represents the “Earth Mother,” linking the sacred to the profane. Creten is one of the earliest supporter of using clay in the context of contemporary art and is consid- ered, alongside Thomas Schütte and Lucio Fontana, to be a pioneer in the revival of modern ceramics, who continues to influence the next generation of artists.

More about the artist
MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA 👀
List of artworks
ROOM 1
Johan CRETEN
GLORY LITTLE VALLEY, 2019
65 × 45 × 13 cm | 25 9/16 × 17 11/16 × 5 1/8 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster
ROOM 2
Johan CRETEN
5 Suns under the sky, 2018
42 × 112 × 11.5 cm | 16 9/16 × 44 1/8 × 4 1/2 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster
Johan CRETEN
6 Double Sunburst on the Wall, 2018
42 × 112 × 11.5 cm | 16 9/16 × 44 1/8 × 4 1/2 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster
Johan CRETEN
7 Sunburst on the Wall, 2018
42 × 112 × 11.5 cm | 16 9/16 × 44 1/8 × 4 1/2 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster
Johan CRETEN
3 Double Sunburst & 3 Sunburst on the Wall, 2018
42 × 112 × 11.5 cm | 16 9/16 × 44 1/8 × 4 1/2 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster
Johan CRETEN
Bolders, 2019
Each : 46 cm, Ø 45 cm | 18 1/8 inch, Ø 17 11/16 inch
Glazed stoneware seats, felt under each piece. Each piece engraved with one of the seven capital sins
Johan CRETEN
LA PERLE NOIRE - SÈTE I, 2018
41 × 30 × 22 cm | 16 1/8 × 11 13/16 × 8 11/16 inch
Glazed stoneware, multiple firing
ROOM 3
Johan CRETEN
ODORE DI FEMMINA - SOLFATARA, 2019
Sculpture : 100 × 52 × 46 cm | 39 3/8 × 20 1/2 × 18 1/8 inch
Pedestal : 76 × 70 × 70 cm | 29 15/16 × 27 9/16 × 27 9/16 inch
Total : 176 × 70 × 70 cm | 69 5/16 × 27 9/16 × 27 9/16 inch
Glazed stoneware
ROOM 4
Johan CRETEN
THE HERRING, 2018
Sculpture : 154 × 50 × 43 cm | 60 5/8 × 19 11/16 × 16 15/16 inch
Pedestal : 87 × 82 × 82 cm | 34 1/4 × 32 5/16 × 32 5/16 inch
Total : 241 × 82 × 82 cm | 94 7/8 × 32 5/16 × 32 5/16 inch
Patinated bronze, lost wax casting
Johan CRETEN
The Herring - Library Version,
Overall dimensions : 15.6 × 4.3 × 4 cm | 6 1/8 × 1 11/16 × 1 9/16 inch
Sculpture : 11.6 × 4.3 × 4 cm | 4 9/16 × 1 11/16 × 1 9/16 inch
Socle : 4 × 4 × 4 cm | 1 9/16 × 1 9/16 × 1 9/16 inch
Patinated bronze, lost wax casting on marble base
Johan CRETEN
GLORY SPRING, 2019
103 × 80 × 20 cm | 40 9/16 × 31 1/2 × 7 7/8 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster
Johan CRETEN
GLORY - WORKING TITLE, 2019
103 × 80 × 20 cm | 40 9/16 × 31 1/2 × 7 7/8 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster
ROOM 5
Johan CRETEN
ODORE DI FEMMINA - HOPE AND GLORIE, 2019
101 × 80 × 25 cm | 39 3/4 × 31 1/2 × 9 13/16 inch
Yellow “Solfatara” glazed stoneware, 3 types of gold and platina luster
Johan CRETEN
ODORE DI FEMMINA - Nuova, 2018
101 × 75 × 25 cm | 39 3/4 × 29 1/2 × 9 13/16 inch
Glazed stoneware
Johan CRETEN
GLORY - OKVIK IV, 2018
95 × 71 × 22 cm | 37 3/8 × 27 15/16 × 8 11/16 inch
Glazed stoneware, gold luster
Johan CRETEN
Mon Petit, 1998 - 2000
58 × 58 × 45 cm | 22 13/16 × 22 13/16 × 17 11/16 inch
Pedestal : 87 × 82 × 82 cm | 34 1/4 × 32 5/16 × 32 5/16 inch
Total : 145 × 82 × 82 cm | 57 1/16 × 32 5/16 × 32 5/16 inch
Patinated bronze, lost wax casting after a stoneware model
Johan CRETEN
WILD HEART 1, 2019
41 × 44 × 20 cm | 16 1/8 × 17 5/16 × 7 7/8 inch
Glazed stoneware, multiple firing