The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici presents the exhibition “I Peccati” by Johan Creten, curated by Noëlle Tissier, from October 15, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
Forerunner, unclassifiable and against the current, Johan Creten (born in 1963) is a Flemish sculptor based in Paris and former fellow at the French Academy in Rome (1996). He works all around the world from The Hague to New York, from Miami to Mexico City. He has notably exhibited in the Renaissance rooms of the Louvre in dialogue with Bernard Palissy and at the Eugène Delacroix Museum in Paris, the Bass Museum of Art in Miami, the Istanbul Biennale, the MAMCO in Geneva and the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp. Johan Creten’s work is represented by the Perrotin Gallery in Paris, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai; by the Almine Rech Gallery in Brussels and the Transit Gallery in Mechelen.
Johan Creten made his mark in the 1980s with his innovative use of ceramics. Today he is considered a leading figure in his renewal in the field of contemporary art.
Another side of his work, he uses bronze with virtuosity for the realization of monumental sculptures, including a major example: “De Vleermuis – The Bat”, that will be presented in the gardens of the Villa Medici.
The exhibition “I Peccati” brings together, for the first time and with such breadth in Italy, a collection of fifty-five works by the artist, in bronze, ceramic and resin. They will be reunited and juxtaposed to some historical works by Lucas Van Leyden (1494-1533), Hans Baldung (1484-1545), Jacques Callot (1592-1635), Barthel Beham (1502-1540) and Paul van Vianen ( 1570–1614), milestones underlying Johan Creten’s thinking.
The first room opens onto a series of creations and re-creations of conceptual works from 1986. Placed alongside “The Garden” (produced in 1996-97 during the artist’s residence at the Villa Medici) and of more seminal works like “Orange Display” (1989-2017) and “Plantstok” (1989-2012), this room questions our relationship to introspection and self-awareness, invoking the notion of lost paradise and temptation.
In the second room, a new monumental resin work “Muses and Medusa”, started in 2005 and completed in 2019, dialogues with pieces from the famous metonymic series “Odore di Femmina” (started in 1998) on seduction, the ambiguity of human feelings and relationships.
A third section brings together highly political works including the bronze “The Price of Freedom” (2015), “Couch Potatoes” (1997) and a new series of ceramics “Wargames” (2019).
In the climb of the stairs, a set of enigmatic bronzes overhangs and poses the question of moral conscience in a society caught in a continuous movement, in deep mutation. The monumental sculpture “The Herring” towers 5 meters high in the last section. A unique sculpture produced in collaboration with the historic workshops of the Porzellanmanufaktur Augarten is revisiting a porcelain from Doccia and will
be unveiled for the first time to the public. Disseminated in space, a new series “Bolders” in glazed stoneware, invites the public to sit down, take the time, observe the works to discover their hidden connections and dive into breathtaking details. Shimmering glass surfaces,
textured patinas, metaphors and hidden mea- nings taking from urban culture’s “secret handshakes”.
From 15 October 2020 till 31 January 2021
Viale Trinità dei Monti, 1
Ticket Office Hours:
Guided tour of the gardens in English: 3pm
Guided tour of the gardens in French: 10am, 2pm, 4.30pm
Guided tour of the gardens in Italian: 3.30pm, 6pm
Double ticket for the exhibition and the guided tour of the Villa Medici and its gardens: € 12 full rate / € 6 concessions
Exhibition ticket only: € 6, free for visitors under 18.