The political bestiary of Johan Creten
About the exhibition "Johan Creten: bestiarium" visible at La Piscine de Roubaix until 29 May.
Johan Creten's works of art are not remarkable because they are five metres high. It is because they are offbeat, because they evoke a world full of poetry, lyricism and mystery. Because the Flemish artist, born in 1963, claims that they have a political resonance. Because, as allegorical sculptures combining ceramics and bronze, they emphasise beauty while affirming the humanist conscience of their creator. Johan Creten's practice evokes "Slow art" and the need to return to introspection, to explore the world with its individual and societal torments. He himself spends his life learning new techniques, finding inspiration in any place that invites him to do so, from Mexico to Rome, from Miami to The Hague, via Nice, Paris, Hong Kong or New York...
Yes, whether they are founders or ceramists, other artists still have to learn from this precursor who, in the 1980s, brought ceramics back into the limelight, banished as it was from contemporary art, considered as "a matter for potters to be placed in the minor decorative arts and certainly not with noble sculpture", recalls Elisabeth Védrenne in Connaissance des Arts. At that time, Johan Creten was the first artist invited in residence by the director of the Manufacture de Sèvres. And that's when everything changed.
While still impressive, his animal sculptures in the Bestarium no longer reach upwards like their predecessors. The time for horizontality has arrived.