Controversial US artist to exhibit at Fotografiska Tallinn

An artist whose past works have included a photograph depicting a crucifix placed in a tank which purportedly contained his own urine, is to have a new exhibition open at the Fotografiska Tallinn gallery Friday.

Andres Serrano (U.S.), known for photographic works on a variety of social issues and taboos, including racism, religious persecution, torture and death, recently made his film debut also, "Insurrection", which focuses on the January 6, 2021 Capitol Hill riots.

"I don't want to brag," Serrano, 72, said of that creation, "but I think that this is one of the more violent and controversial films ever made," he continued, via a press release.

Now, a new exhibition entitled "Infamous" opens at Fotografiska, in Tallinn's much-vaunted "hipster" Telliskivi district.

The exhibition (see gallery above) explores the racist history of the U.S., organizers say, and is a logical follow up to "Insurrection" and other works by the artist which focus on former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Co-founder and Exhibition Manager, Fotografiska Tallinn Maarja Loorents said: "Andres Serrano is not afraid to address problematic histories and he sees this exhibition as an excavation into the infamous past of society."

"It is worth stressing that this past is still with us today and we are very much influenced by long forgotten events. Furthermore – we are encumbered by stereotyping views. I hope that this exhibition shakes us all, making everyone more accepting and open," Loorents added.

Serrano said that his search for relevant Trump-related paraphernalia included items for sale on online auction site eBay which he says normalize "blackface" culture, and which date to the 19th century.

Serrano started to purchase and collect some of these items (see image below), photographing them with the aim of confronting the dark history of his country, and as a way of reminding us all of the various forms that racism continues to take to this day. 

'Cotton Picker' Corn Whiskey, by Andres Serrano. Source: Andres Serrano / Galerie / Fotografiska

Fashion houses Prada and Gucci have recently release products which indicate this, for instance.

The exhibition is concluded by a portrait of Jeffrey Epstein, who organizers say is one of the most infamous figures of 21st century. 

One of Andres Serrano's (born in New York City in 1950) most infamous works is "Piss Christ", a photograph of a crucifix said to be submerged in his own urine.

U.S. heavy metal band Metallica's Load and Reload  album covers have also been illustrated by his "Blood and Semen III" and "Piss and Blood" works.

He has also long been at the center of discussions on censorship, and on the public funding of controversial art.

"Infamous" opens on Friday, January 20 at Fotografiska Tallinn.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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