David Wojnarowicz, works from the Marion Scemama collection
David Wojnarowicz (1954 – 1992) was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. Wojnarowicz channeled a vast accumulation of raw images, sounds, memories and lived experiences into a powerful voice that was an undeniable presence in the New York City art scene of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. Through his several volumes of fiction, poetry, memoirs, painting, photography, installation, sculpture, film and performance, Wojnarowicz left a legacy, affirming art’s vivifying power in a society he viewed as alienating and corrosive. His use of blunt semiotics and graphic illustrations exposed what he felt the mainstream repressed: poverty, abuse of power, blind nationalism, greed, homophobia and the devastation of the AIDS epidemic. The Estate of David Wojnarowicz is represented by P.P.O.W Gallery, New York.
Marion Scemama is a French photographer and video artist born in 1950. She lives and works in Paris. She lived in New York in the 1980s, in the East Village, where she met David Wojnarowicz. From this meeting was born a particular and chaotic friendship that lasted until the artist’s death in 1992. This friendship is marked by multiple artistic collaborations (video, photos, performances), which were presented at the Whitney Museum in New York during the retrospective of David Wojnarowicz in 2017. His documentary Self-Portrait in 23 Rounds: A Chapter in David Wojnarowicz’s Life 1989-1991, premiered at the Whitney Museum in 2017. Selected and nominated for Best Documentary Essay at the 2019 Berlinale, it has been shown at Palazzo Grassi, Venice, Reina Sofia, Madrid, MUDAM in Luxembourg and Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris.