I Peccati – Johan Creten

The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici is happy to present the exhibition “I Peccati” by Johan Creten.

Precursor, unclassifiable and against the grain, Johan Creten is an artist sculptor that has distinguished himself as a strong, enigmatic and intriguing figure in the artistic landscape of the past years.

Gifted with an extremely actual vision of our society, he was able to fashion himself a singular space in the international scene of contemporary creation.


For this exhibition, fifty-five pieces in bronze, ceramic and resin were reunited and juxtaposed to some historical works by di Luca Van Leyden (1494-1533). Hans Baldung (1484-1545), Jacques Callot (1592-1635) e Barthel Beham (1502-1540).

The exhibit proposes an exploration of the world, with all its individual and societal torments, through a path full of surprises and emotion.

This is the first time that Johan Creten’s work is presented in Italy with such amplitude.



With Johan Creten, the sins are not seven in number. Seven, this implacable number, the same as the Bible’s sacraments and Rome’s hills. Here, the sins are infinite and unlimited, inexhaustible. They are not numerable, but just designatable.

Sins are not all capital, they can be imperial, imperious, peripherical, insidious, insignificant, invisible. They are always below calculation and language.

The seven capital sins are little when compared with silliness, barbary, boredom, mutilation, regret, melancholy and terror, in short, with life. Thus, Johan Creten’s sculptures have nothing to do with moral or sanction, guillotine or censorship. They speak of sins, of life that merges desire and pain, hope and misery, luxury and anger, love and death, Eros and Thanatos.

They speak of amphibian life, between the Styx and Paradise. They speak of instinctive life, when hearts beat, when sneaks coil, when wings deploy, when vulvas gape, when the curtain moves and the naked truth emerges from it, at last, that hypnotic Medusa.

May sin not be, after all, the tired form of purity? Does it not point to our condition of extremely fallible men? Is sin not, to quote Victor Hugo, a beautiful “gravitation”?

Colin Lemoine


Curator: Noëlle Tissier.


A book will be published which includes the texts of Colin Lemoine and Nicolas Bourriaud, together with the photographies of Gerrit Schreurs.