Andres Serrano was raised in a devoutly Catholic neighbourhood where religion played a significant part of his growing up. From his first images as an artist, sacred icons and other symbolic elements have been frequenting his tableaux-like photographs. From religious iconography, human subjects, dead animals to more precise elements such as blood urine, milk, semen and later excrement, the artist seeks to convey a sense of dignity to his subjects and to reconcile the sacred and the profane.
This print belongs to the portraits of Ku Klux Klan members series, photographed in their own milieu ('Klan Series', 1990) by the artist. It confronts viewers with more discomforting image of violence and death. Still, even these retain a certain seductive quality. Drawing from the lexicon of advertising, fashion and even pornography, Serrano's large-format, highly saturated photographs aestheticize their subject matter, even when this is abject in nature.
“When I did the portraits of the homeless, The Nomads, or the Ku Klux Klan series, I saw them as portraits of individuals and also as symbols and representations of issues and social groups that sometimes clash with each other and with the rest of society.„