The Church (Soeur Jeanne Myriam, Paris)
Photograph - Cibachrome
H - 40", W - 32.5"
Controversy is an essential component of Andres Serrano’s work. This artist uses it to intensify the tension that seduces his spectators with the fascination of his often taboo subjects. Many of Serrano's most well-known photographs involve bodily fluids in some way—depicting, for example, milk, blood, semen. Within this series, which he started in 1985, there are a number of works in which objects are submerged in these fluids. Most famous of these is "Piss Christ" (1987), a photograph of a plastic crucifix submerged in a glass of his own urine. Other bodies of work include, images of the Ku Klux Klan (1990), the Morgue (1992), the History of Sex (1996), a series of portraits of a variety of individuals in America (2002), images of tropical plants in Cycads (2006). His Catholic background informs much of his work, as he focuses on the body and the spiritual condition, exploring the themes of life and death, sin and grace, the mortification of and the pleasures of the flesh.