O P E N
S T O R A G E
b. 1963, Belgium
Why Does Strange Fruit Always Look So Sweet?,1998 – 1999
40.5 x 13.5 in.
Collection of The Bass
Gift of Robert Miller and Betsy Wittenborn Miller
Flemish sculpture Johan Creten began working with clay in the late 1980s, a time when the medium was still seen as taboo in the art world, becoming one of the earliest exponents of clay and a pioneer in the revival of modern ceramics in the context of contemporary art. Creten works alone in his studio, drawing inspiration from the centuries of art history in his native Flanders to craft unsettling works of contorted shapes and intricate surfaces while exploring galvanizing themes of sexuality, social injustices, politics and spirituality.
Taking inspiration from the title of Strangefruit by Billie Holiday, Why Does Strange Fruit Always Look So Sweet? imposes questions on emancipation, freedom, liberation and the struggles to be waged. In this work, Creten confronts the viewer with a reflection on the rise of racism and the issues of power that are deeply embedded in past and contemporary societies.