National Gallery, Sofia, Bulgaria https://nationalgallery.bg
The prestigious Palace venue of the National Palace of Bulgaria, Sofia will open Torture by American artist Andres Serrano. Notorious for the artwork Piss Christ (1987), a central focus of the culture wars in the late 80's and early 90's, Serrano continues to foreground uncomfortable subject matter. Presented in his largest scaled photographs, akin to Renaissance masterpieces, the exhibition Torture comprises twenty works from a monumental body of work that elucidates the decay at the heart of society.
Torture captures the empty spaces of interrogation rooms, immigration detention centres and concentration camps, alongside historical torture devices from prominent museum collections and replica devices used as tourist attractions. Serrano photographed preeminent Whistle-blowers on torture and the victims, who generously offered their testimonies.
For just over a month, in the industrial town of Maubourguet, southwestern France, Serrano assumed the role of the torturer. Using The Foundry as his black site, he photographed more than 40 volunteers in improvised positions with devices produced on-site by local residents. Both physical and mental techniques were utilised with the participation of his subjects, under the guidance of a retired Commando from the French Special Forces."With this work I visualize the full spectrum of torture…In doing this, I assumed the roles of both the artist and the torturer. As the artist, I show the audience what I see. As the torturer, I have to think like a torturer and assume control. It's easy to torture people when you have power over them." Andres Serrano.
Produced in 2015 by a/political, the series was initiated the week the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture was released. As the US continued to stall the release of thousands of photographs showing U.S. military personnel torturing detainees, Andres Serrano began to visualise the reality the government was fighting to conceal.The series has been presented as solo exhibitions at Collection Lambert, France; VOID, Northern Ireland; Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston and Stills Centre of Photography, Scotland.