While he lives in the desert of Mexico in the Nuevo Léon region, next to the city of Monterrey, to work with the local craftsmen, Johan Creten exhaust himself in work exaltation to the point of falling sick. In his bed, he looks at the date palms and their dark flesh grapes through the window. Fruits and infected swollen glands mix up in his imaginary. He sees his body covered with these growths. During a ten-year period, he realized several versions of this hallucinated vision in glazed stoneware or bronze.
'Johan Creten works so hard that he exhausts himself, grows weak, falls ill. He must rest, find peace. Urgently. From the bed that serves as his stretcher, he looks throughthe window at the date palms and their black, juicy fruit. He observes them like he observes the swollen glands that are contaminating his skin at the time and troubling his peace of mind. Dates and abscesses are so similar that the Flemish artist begins to confuse these foreign bodies. Out of this hallucinatory, fever-induced vision, the sculptor draws a variegated sculpture — Why does Strange Fruit always look so Sweet? — which exists in three
versions, in glazed terracotta. One of these, intended for an exhibition at the Bass Museum in Art in 2001, was soon enlarged, in coloured plaster, with the help of Niki de Saint Phalle’s former assistant, then cast in bronze, years later. Conceived in a feverish state, a nightmare, a frenzy, the sculpture brought into this world speaks the language of monsters, those that creep out from under beds, from behind curtains, from out of our heads.' - "The Injuries of Beauty", Colin Lemoine, extract from “Strange Fruit”.