CULTURE

Provocative and human photographs

Finding ways to represent the body is one of contemporary photography’s favorite issues, with many prominent photographers systematically working on it, among them Andres Serrano. Twelve works by Serrano are currently on display at the Kalfayan Gallery in Thessaloniki, a show which is part of events at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival: Images of the 21st Century (the exhibition runs to Saturday). Born to Spanish-speaking parents in New York City in 1950, Serrano studied sculpture and painting at the Brooklyn School of Fine Arts and has been using the photographic medium as a means of expression since 1984. With a challenging choice of subjects – including the homeless, minorities, religion, sex and death – Serrano’s work is based on the coexistence of a combination of issues mixing aesthetics with politics. Showcased in large dimensions, the artist’s color photos at times become communication agents of social criticism. His artistic proposal is a highly personal one, simultaneously based on the sacred and the blasphemous as an undivided image. Many of Serrano’s photos have been deemed too provocative. In the early 1990s, for instance, an image titled «Piss Christ» (a crucifix submerged in urine and blood) exhibited at the Queens Municipal Museum, resulted in the New York mayor withdrawing the museum’s funding.