With his deeply beautiful photographs Andres Serrano has challenged the fundamental taboos of the western world. Religion, sex and death are recurrent themes in his numerous series of photographs, frequently juxtaposing the grotesque and horrifying with scrupulously orchestrated compositions and attractive colours with great aesthetic precision.
Klansman (Great Titan of the Invisible Empire), 1990
DescriptionProfile portrait of a person wearing a white hood. The garb is white and red. The person is placed on a black background, and a distinctive spotlight contrasts light and shadow. The photograph is sharp and the portrayed person is carefully placed in the centre of the composition.
About the workThe portrait of the hooded and thus anonymous Klansman is both neutral and highly theatrical. Serrano has deliberately omitted the environment that we usually associate with the Ku Klux Klan: there are no burning crosses, agitated crowds or attacks on innocent minorities. All that remains is the Klansman as an aesthetic sculpture that resists analysis.
On Serrano's work in general
Serrano has given prominence to the most glaring taboos of the frequently staunchly conservative USA. In the 1980s at the height of the AIDS debate Serrano created a number of his most praised works: almost abstract presentations of flows of blood and semen on completely uniform backgrounds, accentuating the formal, aesthetic characteristics.
These deeply beautiful works transpose the actual depiction – the concrete bodily fluids – and instead show how beautiful these potentially lethal fluids can be.
LiteratureAndres Serrano: A History of Sex, Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris, 1997
Studied at Brooklyn School of Art in New York in 1969.
Serrano's many exhibitions include: "In Visible Light: Photography and Classification in Art.....