The Helsinki City Art Museum opened a retrospective exhibition of the works of Andres Serrano (born 1950), a US photographer of Cuban-Honduran origin, on January 31 at the Tennis Palace. In the 1980s and 1990s, very few photographers caused as much dispute as Serrano, and his photographic comments on racism, freedom of speech and the limits of artistic freedom have caused strong reactions everywhere. His art deals with themes that are usually considered taboo and addresses social issues, including homelessness, violence, sexuality, religion, power and otherness.
The retrospective at the Tennis Palace covered Serrano’s work in the 1980s and 1990s, including early abstract compositions using urine, blood, semen and milk, and religious symbols depicted in these fluids (including Piss Christ, well-known for the uproar it caused in the United States). More recent works included portraits of homeless people, hooded Ku Klux Klan members, church workers, women bodybuilders and a series on sexuality portraying people of various ages and sexualities. The exhibition also included images from Serrano’s dramatic series of dead people photographed in a morgue.
The exhibition catalogue entitled Andres Serrano, Placing Time and Evil offers an extensive and in-depth presentation of Serrano’s art. It contains articles by Trond Borgen and the curator Malin Barth. The exhibition, “Placing Time & Evil – A Millennium Retrospective” was produced by Stiftelsen 3,14 / Hordaland Int. Art Gallery.