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Controversial ‘Jesus in urine’ on display in Derry

The controversial artwork by Andres Serrano on display in Derry. Photo: UTV

One of the most controversial images in modern art – an image of Jesus on a cross, suspended in urine – is set to go on display in Londonderry in an exhibition which opens this weekend.

The photograph is by one of the world’s most controversial artists, New Yorker Andres Serrano.

For nearly 25 years, it has provoked outrage across the globe.

It sparked protests in America, was attacked in Australia, vandalised in France … And now it is in the Void Gallery in Derry.

A number of religious leaders have voiced their disapproval and say they are deeply offended by the notorious image.

We are living in a free and easy society where virtually everything goes - that said, I think there is a line that shouldn't be crossed.

And I think Andres Serrano has crossed that line by providing us with a photograph of Christ plugged into a vat of his own urine.

Now I find that shocking and I find it sickening.

– Rev David Latimer, 1st Derry Presbyterian Church

The Void Gallery says the controversy shouldn’t prevent people coming to see what’s on display.

The exhibition addresses the issue of torture and also includes portraits of four of the Hooded Men from Northern Ireland who allege they were tortured by the British Army during the Troubles.

And the artist, who has travelled to the city for the exhibition, denies he has been deliberately provocative or even blasphemous in creating the Jesus image that has caused the most controversy.

I'm an artist, and particularly a religious artist, and this is the way I approach my art - from a Christian point of view.

– Artist Andres Serrano