Johan Creten started to practice drawing and sculpture at an early age. Fascinated by art, literature, and music, he met a couple of passionate antiquarians in his hometown, who supported him during the first years of his life. In 1985, he graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent, where he discovered a clay studio, left behind by students. While training as a painter, Johan Creten found real potential in clay: he started to include ceramics elements in his paintings and familiarized himself with this new medium. He later studied at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. In the 80’s, art was surrounded by conceptual and minimalist artists. By choosing clay, Johan Creten made a bold move, striving to open up horizons in the contemporary art field for this rare technique.
Johan Creten was first represented by the Meyer Gallery in Paris, specialized in tribal art from Oceania. The gallery organized two of his exhibitions : “Johan Creten: Peintures et Sculptures” in 1987, and “Kunstkamer. Installation et Performance” in 1988. He has also been represented by the gallerist Robert Miller in New York, who dedicated two exhibitions to him: “Odore di Femmina” in 1988, and “Johan Creten : 3 Torsos” in 2001.
Johan Creten is currently represented by the Perrotin Gallery in New York, Paris, and Hong Kong; the Almine Rech Gallery in Brussels; the Transit Gallery in Mechelen; and the Pilevneli Gallery in Istanbul, Turkey.
Over the past twenty years, Johan Creten has been offered prestigious residencies, notably, at the Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres and the Villa Medici. With the chance to travel widely across the world and experience various studios, each residency was an opportunity to enrich his œuvre.
Johan Creten is considered one of the pioneers – with Thomas Schütte and Lucio Fontana – of introducing ceramics in contemporary art. Fascinated by its beauty, its symbolic impact, and the richness of its history, the artist explores the medium through multiple techniques and scales. His painting training brings further dimension to his sculpture work, giving the glaze and its colors a primary role in the artworks. Deeply influenced by the environment, Johan Creten’s work ranges widely, from delicate clay sculptures to large-scale bronzes – a medium he has introduced in his work more recently. Johan Creten creates his own fantasy world through phantasmagoric and organic creatures and forms, resulting in an œuvre that reveals the artist's personal commitments and raises existential questions, for instance, about the ambiguity of sexuality in the human race, or the unpredictable strength of nature, among others.
• Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
• Fondation Villa Datris, L’isle-sur-la-Sorgue, France
• Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris, Paris, France
• Musée de la chasse et de la nature, Paris, France
• Musée des arts décoratifs, Paris, France
• Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris, France
• Sèvres - Cité de la Céramique, Sèvres, France
• FRAC Pays de la Loire, France
• FRAC Auvergne, France
• FRAC Languedoc - Roussillon, France
• Fonds Municipal d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France
• Bonnafantenmuseum, Maastricht, The Netherlands
• Peter Marino Art Foundation, Southampton, USA
• Collection de la ville de Sint-Truiden, Belgium
• Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands
• The Olbricht Collection, Berlin / Essen, Germany
• Collection de la ville de Sonsbeek, The Netherlands
• Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (Provinciaal Museum voor Moderne Kunst), Oostende, Belgium
• Collection du Ministère de la Communauté Flamande de Belgique, Belgium
• Collection de la province du Brabant Flamand de Belgique, Belgium
• Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, Florida, USA
• John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Wisconsin, USA
• Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA
• Cultural Heritage Agency, Amersfoort, The Netherlands
• Taylor New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, USA
• Museum Kloster Unser Lieben Frauen, Magdeburg, Germany