Ricardo Salcedo and Andres Serrano: Anti-Heroes and Predatory Powers
January 11 – February 28, 1987
The work by Ricardo Salcedo and Andre Serrano came to Light Work in very different ways. Salcedo began work on many of his pieces in the fall of 1984 when he was a participant in our Artist-in-Residence program. So, in essence they came to us all at once. They were nurtured, created, assembled and realized on our doorstep. Serrano’s came in bits and pieces, an exhibitions announcement, a glimpse of a few works in a group show, in slides at a fellowship panel and finally at a studio visit.
It is the unique quality of the individual statements presented I the work and the power of their creative expression that provides us with the fuel to be consumed by horror while we are engaged by subtle hints of satire.
In a statement that accompanied an exhibition of Serrano’s work titled THE UNKNOWN CHRIST at the Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art in New York City, curator Susana Torruella Leval writes:
“Andres Serrano dares to imagine the unknown Christ. These extraordinary photographic images follow where his imagination dares to go, materializing its most far fetched visions.
The unknown Christ, for Serrano is the human Christ. This is Christ as anti-hero – the opposite of the all-powerful Saviour and miracle worker – a Christ who feels and needs.
Serrano’s startling tableaux vivant combine a straight-shooting, no tricks technical approach with the operatic chiaroscuro of Visconti. Beyond the initial shock, a cool, controlling intelligence becomes evident. Its relentless stillness forces us to look again, to reconsider the unknowable Christ.”
So it is beyond the curtain of the confessional that Serrano asks us to look for our demons and our heroes in hopes that they may be found on the street corner, in our backyards, on our television sets or perhaps in our mirror.
With the same courage that Serrano directs us to our demons and heroes, Salcedo points an accusatory finger at the brokers of predatory power. In his seamless re-photographed collages Salcedo challenges all authority from the pontiff to the president and from the prime minister to the pornographer.
Salcedo puts together fragments of the reality presented in the media to create satirical images that illustrate a reality which we may not want to acknowledge, prefer to ignore or can’t conceive. His work exploits, “the media’s determined attitude to acknowledge the beautiful side of life while concealing the predatory, violent side of humans as a group” and emphasizes “the irony of the lives of people in power whose reality is so separate from those they inflicrt misery and suffering on through their decision$.”
For Salcedo nothing is sacred except the search for truth and integrity. His work is the result of that search, and the images he presents in this exhibition are evidence that he has failed to find truth and integrity in the information that preponderates our lives.
The work by these two artists asks us to question the roles and the powers of our heroes and leaders and to investigate the location of our demons in such a convincing and forceful manner that we are left wondering where to start.
Director, Light Work