Johan Tahon

Johan Tahon

Exhibition White Chalk - November-December 2019

Johan Tahon - Clémentine Dupré

Sculptor Johan Tahon presents in “White Chalk” ceramic statues, in connection with his major show in Musée Ariana in Genève, which runs until 5 april 2020.

In an interview with Jelle Van Riet for “De Standaard Magazine” Johan says: ‘Tactility plays a very big role, because every sculpture begins life as soft, malleable clay – which is wonderful to the touch! Sculpture is all ritual, eroticism and sensuality. The pouring of glaze over a ceramic work, for example, is a ritual that is filled with sensual pleasure. I’m always curious to know how the work will emerge from the kiln, and to see what the drips from the glaze will look like. I remember how, in India, they poured milk over the lingam, a phallic sculpture that for Hindus and Buddhists is a symbol of fertility and life. My sculptures also look as though milk has been poured over them because the glaze seems semi-liquid. You get the impression that the works are still wet, which is naturally very beautiful. And no, I’m not Pygmalion, the mythological sculptor who fell in love with his own creations. I still prefer the warm female body over my sculptures. But I’m certainly in love with the mystery within the sculptures that I – take note – have made myself. Imagine! But isn’t this the proof, if any were needed, of how little control I have over the object?’

Johan Tahon was born in Menen (Belgium) in 1965. He lives and works in Belgium and Switzerland. He studied sculpture at the Ghent Royal Academy of Fine Arts (BE). Since 1994 he exhibits his work on a regular basis in Belgium as well as abroad. In 1996, he caught the attention of Belgium’s most influential curator and museum director Jan Hoet (e.g. Documenta 9), who made it possible for Tahon to interact with world level artists in the internationally renowned exhibition De Rode Poort in the Ghent Museum of Contemporary Art (with a.o. Luc Tuymans, Vito Acconci and Sam Taylor-Wood). From then on Tahon got the full support of Hoet and Tahon started exhibiting his work at different galleries and in prominent museums across Europe, solo or combined with works of a.o. Ilya Kabakov, Günther Förg, Tony Cragg and Stephan Balkenhol. He took part in major exhibitions like Beaufort (Ostend, BE) and Lustwarande (Tilburg, NL) and showed his sculptures at places like the Ministry of Finance (The Hague, NL), the Gerhard Marcks Haus (Bremen, DE), the Academia Belgica (Rome, IT), the courtyard of the Topkapi Palace (Istanbul, TR), the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington DC, USA) and the Istanbul Biennial (TR). Tahon’s sculptures also make part of important public and private collections like S.M.A.K. (Ghent, BE), M HKA (Antwerp, BE), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, NL), GEM and Gemeentemuseum (The Hague, NL), MARTa (Herford, DE), the Vanhaerents Art Collection (Brussels, BE), the collection of Sevil Sabanci (Istanbul, TR) and the Collection of the Dutch House of Royals (The Hague, NL).