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In the new open series of unique glazed standing “table-sculptures” in cast stoneware, Johan Creten explores the ever changing “skin” of the sculptures. He talks about how Medardo Rosso used liquid wax to give an “impressionist” skin to his sculptures or how Rodin used liquid plaster to unify a fragmented sculpture. Johan Creten uses all the tactile and visual elements of glaze, transparent, opaque, shimmering, sparkling, tender or rough to great effect, lending a unique surface and skin to each of these pieces, giving them great mystery and emotional depth.
"Dans la nouvelle série «Octo Table», série d'oeuvres uniques en grès, Johan Creten explore le constant renouvellement de la « peau » des sculptures. Il évoque Medardo Rosso, qui utilisait la cire liquide pour donner une peau « impressionniste » à ses sculptures ou encore Rodin, qui utilisait le plâtre liquide pour unifier une sculpture brisée. Johan Creten utilise toutes les caractéristiques visuelles et tactiles de la terre, transparente, opaque, chatoyante, mousseuse, lisse ou rugueuse, aboutissant à une surface et une peau uniques à chacune de ces œuvres, les habillant de mystère et de profondes émotions."
Image rights: Courtesy Galerie Perrotin
“Clay is excremental, it’s the ashes of the dead,” Johan Creten says. “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.” The Flemish sculptor, known for his semi-abstract, viscerally biomorphic works, has been credited by none other than the director of Sèvres Porcelain Factory as instrumental in elevating ceramics to the level of high art. Working alone in his studio, Creten crafts unsettling works whose contorted shapes and intricate surfaces explore heady themes like sexuality, social injustice, and Creten’s perceived position as an outsider looking into the art world. However, it is beauty that forms the heart of his practice: “Beauty becomes a lubricant for me,” he says. “Beauty can help convey difficult meaning.” Though he works almost entirely in clay, Creten is constantly experimenting with new materials and glazes, drawing inspiration from the centuries of art history in his native Flanders.
Belgian, b. 1963, Sint-Truiden, Belgium, based in Paris, France