Catalog published on the occasion of the solo-exhibition of Johan Creten's "I Peccati" at Villa Medici in Rome, in collaboration with the Académie de France in Rome - Villa Médicis, Almine Rech, and Perrotin Galleries.

Académie de France in Rome - Villa Medici

With “I PECCATI”, the eponymous catalog of the exhibition presented at the Académie de France in Rome - Villa Medici, Johan Creten orchestrates a collection of iconic works from his career.

Conceived in collaboration with Noëlle Tissier, curator of the exhibition, “I PECCATI” brings together, for the first time and on such a large scale in Italy, a group of fifty-five works testifying to the artist's sensitivity in the face of the profound changes in society and a moral conscience that is more than ever shaken. Alongside his works in bronze, ceramic and resin, the artist presents a selection of historical works from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries, from his personal collection. 

The book

Divided into 12 sections revealing 12 sacrilegious and impure wounds, the book “I PECCATI” plunges the reader into the abyss of a prolific and protean creation, nourished by historical references, hidden connections and intellectual and artistic surprises.

Each part, placed under the ambivalent and dual symbol of a subjective and imperfect morality, is introduced by a text by Colin Lemoine questioning the relationship between Man and sin, between adoration and blasphemy. 

“With Johan Creten, the sins are not seven. Seven, that implacable number, the same as the number of sacraments in the Bible and the number of hills in Rome. Here, sins are infinite and unlimited, inexhaustible. They cannot be counted, only named. Sins are not all capital, they can be imperial, imperious, peripheral, insidious, insignificant, invisible. They are always below the level of calculation and language.”
Colin Lemoine

In his introductory text, Nicolas Bourriaud returns to the work of Johan Creten, haunted by the notions of good and evil, exorcism and voluptuousness. 

“Johan Creten, The collapsed golden section”, Nicolas Bourriaud in the catalog “I PECCATI”, 2020, p.12

“The set of chemical reactions that take place within a living being and enable it to stay alive, reproduce, develop, or respond to the demands of its environment is called the metabolism. In the animal world, colours and motifs are part of this vital dimension. Plumage, hair, scales, skin, livery and carapaces, stripes and spots, can thus all be considered as organs of appearance, as plastic formulas lending an organism, beyond its vital functions and the struggle for survival, a kind of self- presentation. The Swiss zoologist Adolf Portmann (1897–1982) called these motifs ‘phanères’ (skin appendages or adnexa) and even coined the term ‘phanerology’: the science of the appearance of animals. Human beings are not to be outdone. The difference is that they developed by externalizing their faculties, while other species were content to extend their own bodies. Rather than the organic division of labour that is common in the animal kingdom, humans thus opted for a body that is not very efficient, yet infinitely customizable. Thus, if the butterfly creates itself like a painting, humans prefer to produce it on an external support. The artist could then define him- or herself as the butterfly of the human realm: he or she engages in a free and flamboyant production of signs and forms. Art is a specific form of life, which cannot be reduced to the production of objects.”

Book Specifications
    Stéphane Gaillard
    Noëlle Tissier
    Nicolas Bourriaud
    Colin Lemoine
    Language: French / English / Italian
    29 x 32 cm
    Cloth cover
    156 pages
    Catapult, Antwerp, Belgium
    Anton de Haan, Frank Kuijpers, Pieter Melis, Tom Van Welkenhuyzen
    Graphius, Get, Belgium
    1.500 copies
  • ISBN : 9782955424544
  • Published by
    Creten Studio in collaboration with the Académie de France in Rome - Villa Médicis, Almine Rech and Perrotin, 2020

Please contact Studio Creten if you have any questions or need more information.