“Ansi soit-il” is a retrospective exhibition at the Collection Lambert, Musee d’Art Contemporin, Avignon (20 December 2015 – 12 June 2016) of over 200 works by Andres Serrano. Serrano, born in 1950 in New York, is half Honduran and half Afro-Cuban. Yvon Lambert was an early supporter of Serrano’s work, the Lambert Collection includes more than 200 of his works. In 2011 Lambert gifted 560 works to the French state and these works are on view in Avignon.
In recent times Serrano’s work has often been controversial. He treats very hard hidden topics like images of dead people in the morgue but also he has a fascination with bodily fluids, including feces, semen, urine and female milk.
There was a room dedicated to his feces images and another to his bodily fluids images. I cannot see the beauty in these images although I found them technically perfect. There were also several images from his series The History of Sex. These images are very explicit of both hetero- and homo-sexual acts. These images have brought controversy both in France and in Sweden when they were displayed. Some of the images were destroyed by a group of vandals. Serrano feels this is, in itself, a political statement. Again I do not see the beauty in these images. They are brutally explicit which puts them, for me, into the realm of pornography.
On the other hand this retrospective contains many of Serranos early works which I found extraordinary. There was his early images of the Klu Klux Klan,
his images of religious personel and the Matisse Chapel images. These were extremely sensitively represented. The angles he chooses or the part of the person he chooses to include are always just right.
The wide scope of Serrano’s work is impressive. No matter what subject he works on he devotes the same amount of energy to technical perfection. I left the exhibition with my head spinning and my stomach churning so I would have to say this is an exhibition which one should visit and which you will not forget.