C’est dans ma nature comprises seven vertical and three horizontal brick-patterned panels of varying dimensions, without any discernible sense of order. A total of sixty-one figurative ceramic tablets are scattered across the panels. Yet each contains only a handful of these sculpted ‘tiles’. In other words, we are faced with a patchwork rather than a frieze. Without exception, the bas-reliefs in glazed stoneware are small in size. Here, against the background of imitation brick (fausses briquettes), the narrative unfolds. [...]
In its ornamentation of distorted human and animal life, C’est dans ma nature recalls the apocalyptic representations by eleventh-century sculptors on Roman tympanums and capitals. The artist’s lexicon evokes memories of Dante Alighieri’s shadows in The Divine Comedy (Inferno) (1472), Auguste Rodin’s wandering souls on the Gates of Hell (1888), or the refugees in Honoré Daumier’s Emigrants (or Fugitives) (1855-1856). Johan Creten’s monumental artwork is an archive of conflicting images – snippets of figuration, fragments of Old and New Testament stories, tropes that evoke myths and epics.
C’est dans ma nature is an allegory of a world that is tilting. It depicts the pourriture noble [noble rot] of disrupted animal and human societies. The sixty-one expressive, almost naturalistic bas-reliefs function as metaphors and show the flip side of what was once an Eden: the socially perfect organisation of biotic communities. [fragment of catalogue text by Barbara De Coninck]
Artists: Johan Creten