Johan Creten was born on July 25, 1963 in Sint-Truiden. Having started drawing and sculpture at a young age, he moved to Ghent to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
Towards the end of the 1980s, he started working with clay, which was considered a “taboo” material in the art world. He was invited for residencies in many prestigious institutions such as Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres and Villa Medici. Creten, considered among the pioneering artists who had ceramics accepted as a contemporary art form, creates aesthetically-appealing ceramic sculptures that have underlying socio-political meanings. By reconciling superlatives such as love and freedom for recurring themes like illness and death in his works, he creates timeless pieces that can be related to in every period and every context.
Over the years, these sculptures, which are perceived differently according to the era and become a part of the democratic discourse, contain feelings of lust and longing. Creten, designs and creates his sculptures so they are aged and old-looking from the start, and chooses materials which by nature will undergo changes in the years to follow. Creten’s sculptures mostly point to gender roles, sexual identities, alteration, nature and forms within nature. In his sculptures, the artist makes use of the mystery of nature and history of humanity, and sub-meanings of images which have a spiritual and mystical feel and appearance.
Johan Creten lives and works in Paris.
Among his many solo exhibitions are Villa Medici (Italy); CRAC/Regional Contemporary Art Centre (France); Château de Pommard (France); The Monaco Project for the Arts (Monaco) and Middelheim Museum/Sculpture Park (Belgium). His works are acquired by important public and private collections such as Bass Museum of Art (USA); The Kohler Foundation (USA); FRAC/Regional Contemporary Art Fund (France); The FMAC/Local Contemporary Art Fund (France); The Provincial Museum voor Moderne Kunst (Belgium); The Museum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen (Germany); Olbricht Collection (Germany) and Sydney and Walda Besthoff Collection in NOMA (USA).