"Jouer avec le Feu"
In the museum of Fine Arts of Orléans and in the city
Orléans, France

“La Sauterelle’, 2023-2024. © Creten Studio & Gerrit Schreurs / Courtesy Creten Studio, Perrotin et Almine Rech
‘Johan Creten. Jouer avec le feu’
Museum : March 23 - September 22, 2024
City : March 23, 2024 - Summer 2025

For his second exhibition of monumental sculptures, the Musée des Beaux-Arts d'Orléans invites internationally renowned sculptor Johan Creten to take over the public space and the museum.

The exhibition Johan Creten. Jouer avec le Feu, the largest exhibition ever devoted to the Belgian artist, brings together 120 works (including eleven in the public space) and is divided into two parts, highlighting Creten's artistic evolution by entering into his creative process for the first time, starting with the sculptures present in the city, which visitors can discover at the museum through drawings, preparatory studies and variants.

As an artist working in multiple media, from ceramics to bronze, Johan Creten brings together forty years of production, writing the genesis of his work. This captivating immersion offers an in-depth exploration of his work, revealing decades of inspiration and creation through his emblematic works and new pieces.

It also allows the public to get to the heart of the artist's work by taking part in his reflections. After a first playful approach in the public space, they are invited to discover the long process of elaboration of the forms and the underlying themes: school violence, racism, intolerance, social emergencies.

‘Odore di Femmina - A Lucky Bird on a Red field’ and ‘Odore di Femmina - A Lucky Bird on a Blue field’, 2021-2022. © Creten Studio & Gerrit Schreurs / Courtesy Perrotin
‘Odore di Femmina - A Lucky Bird on a Blue field’, 2021-2022. © Creten Studio & Gerrit Shchreurs / Courtesy Perrotin

The visitor's first encounter with the work of Johan Creten is in the public space, where the artist will be taking over the streets of Orléans until summer 2025 with ten monumental bronze sculptures installed in squares, courtyards, parks and in front of the majestic cathedral. Alongside famous works such as the large Bat, already presented in Rome at the Villa Medicis

Villa Medicis, and in Paris in front of the Petit Palais, the exhibition unveils brand-new fonts created for the show, such as La Grande Sauterelle and La Mouche Morte, whose imposing presence initiates an artistic dialogue imbued with ecological discourse. The exhibition contributes to the democratization of access to original works of art through "hors les murs".

‘La Mouche Morte’, 2023-2024. © Creten Studio & Gerrit Schreurs / Courtesy Creten Studio, Perrotin et Almine Rech

The museum's four graphic arts cabinets offer an insight into Johan Creten's creative process, bringing together unpublished drawings and preparatory studies in clay or bronze.

These 73 drawings, which are all avenues explored by Johan Creten, are compared with the preparatory studies, enabling us to follow the work carried out from the 1980s to the present day. For the first time, the artist opens his drawing boxes to reveal his long research on paper, which sometimes precedes by several decades the realization of his most famous works, La Chauve- souris, La Mouche morte or les Gloires. They are accompanied by objects, models and studies in ceramic and bronze that reveal the deep roots of the artist's principal sculptures, offering a unique visual record of his artistic evolution, hitherto little explored in exhibitions devoted to him. A group of ceramic sculptures completes this exploration of the collections, in dialogue with the works in the museum. The themes addressed - physical and social violence, intolerance and racism - reflect the deep-rooted violence that permeated the artist's childhood, and are reborn in cathartic form in works such as Odore di Femmina, Les Femmes sans ombres and Les Coqs.

‘When I am good I am very good, but when I am bad I am better’, 1996. Collection of the artist

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