Exhibition organised in collaboration with a/political as part of the official Grand Arles Express programme initiated by Rencontres d’Arles
3rd July – 25th September
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”
The Gospel According to St. Luke XXIII: 34
For his third exhibition at the Collection Lambert, Andres Serrano presents his latest series, which he began working on in 2005 at the request of the New York Times Magazine. Thanks to his meeting with the a/political organisation whose headquarters are in London with production workshops in Maubourguet, west of Toulouse, the artist received all the logistical support to produce works, which, as is always the case with Andres Serrano, are at the heart of international news and events.
This exhibition aims to combine these photographs on a History of Torture, with a set of thirty-three etchings by Goya, on loan from the Oldenburg Museum in Germany. This juxtaposition between the rawness of Andres Serrano’s photographic images, and the sublime horror of Goya’s Los Caprichos and The Disasters of War, enables the unspeakable to be exposed, as the Great Master’s manservant once asked him : “Why do you paint such horrors ?” “To eternally ask men not to be barbarians”, he replied.
“Torture” by Andres Serrano begins with the wars of religion from another retrogressive time – The Inquisition of the Middle Ages, which lasted until the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment. The artist then gets involved in photographic mapping of places symbolic of torture in the twentieth century : the Jewish death camps that served Nazi ideology, where six million Jews were deported and killed ; the Cold War with Stasi prisons and interrogation rooms where evil, psychological torture took place ; those that recall the worst moments in Northern Ireland when, after the notorious events of Bloody Sunday, some prisoners were isolated from the world by being permanently hooded.
This photographic line of questioning implicitly reinstates human beings at the centre of the artist’s approach, which takes us back to the dark days of Spain, Cathar Country, Germany, Poland, Ireland and finally the East, and the famous Axis of Evil, a project that justified the action of George W. Bush after the September 11 attacks.