David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz

David Wojnarowicz is considered one of the most powerful voices of his generation. His work follows in the long American tradition of visionary, rebel and activist artists. Born in New Jersey in 1954, to difficult family circumstances, at 16 he decided to abandon his studies and live on the streets. Through his art, he transforms his difficult childhood into a powerful and multi-dimensional expressive medium, which is both rough and extraordinarliy structured. Wojnarowicz shows what should not be shown, and deals with the everyday brutality of the roughest part of town, of the nightmare of AIDS or the beauty of two men having sex on a pier in New York. In a continuous battle against conformity, materialism and approval, he is inspired by the everyday life of Americans, and uses everyday images to construct abstract formal relationships. Symbols of the American dream are recontextualised as accusations against capitalist violence. With the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, his ferocious criticism of society became more radical. Through photographs, performance and installations, he explored the personal and political dimension of AIDS with touching clarity, using the illness, which he himself contracted, as a stimulus to get his voice heard, underlining the artist’s role as a public figure. He died in New York in 1992, at 37.

His work has also been presented in various institutions, including at P·P·O·W in New York (2011) and at Supportino Lopez in Berlin (2009).

Untitled (Buffalos) – Slip of the Tongue