Piss Christ, 1989
"My work does more than just shock. It also pleases—and that really fucks with their heads. My work has often been spoken of in terms of the sacred and the profane. My feeling is that you can't have one without the other. You need both."
Andres Serrano (from interview that was published in High Perfomance magazine, Fall 1991)
Serrano, I have to admit is an icon of mine (pun intended). His work and its ramifications, are more relevant now than ever, in a political theater that is permeated with religious dogma.
Serrano's work has been attacked by hammers, bomb and physical threats, eternal damnation and harsh words. Why?
His work deals with a series of longstanding human taboos such as sex, sacrament, the catholic religion, death, race and all kinds of "touchy" subjects.
The "Piss Christ" is the condemned work, most often associated with the photographer due to its obvious yet questionable sacrilegious character.
"Serrano uses photography to introduce a world full of contradictions, "not of conflicts but of dichotomies". A general overview where symbols and archetypes, fetishes of beauty and horror, powerful characters and the uniforms by them worn, life and death, coexist."
Religion is a very central focus of Serrano's work
"In my work, I explore my own Catholic obsessions. An artist is nothing without an obsession, and I own mine."
"Religion bases itself in symbols, and my work as an artist is to succeed in manipulating those symbols and explore their possibilities."
Serrano was born in 1950, in NY of the United States. He grew up in Brooklyn, where he became acquainted with the world of drugs and inner-city violence till he enrolled in the Brooklyn Museum of Art School.
Serrano has exhbited his work all over the world, in joint and solo shows.
America (Aya Basemah, Convert To Islam), 2002 Knifed to Death I + II, 1992
Piss Discus, 1988
"A History of Sex (Giada)", 1996
"A History of Sex (Teresa)", 1996
"Triumph of the Flesh, 2000
Comments on A. Serrano (US Senate) (worth a read!)
"I say again, Mr. President, he is not an artist. He is a jerk. And he is taunting the American people, just as others are, in terms of Christianity. And I resent it. And I do not hesitate to say so. "
Food for thought:
Do you find these images offensive? If so, why or why not?
Do you think that religion/spirituality can coexist with sexuality and the desires of the flesh?