The Other World And Worlds Of David Wojnarowicz

2881 words - 12 pages

Homosexuality & Art thru eyes of a raging artist

It was a sudden vision of the world; a transient position of the body in relation to the Other World. So I came to understand that to give up one's environment was also to give up biography and all the encoded daily movements; the false reassurances of the railing outside the door. This was a beginning of a definition of the World for me. A place that might be described as interior world. The place where movement was comfortable; where boundaries were stretched or obliterated; no walls, borders, language or fear.

David Wojnarowicz, Close to the Knives

David Wojnarowicz was born in 1954 into a life that was troubled from the very onset on the fringes of American society. The first years of his life were marked by incredible abuse from his father with dog chains, two by fours, and molestation. By age nine, Wojnarowicz was back with his neglectful mother; from ages nine to 16 or 17, he "fucked in every season and in any weather," (Tongues of Flame, p. 115). All along those years, Wojnarowicz made many forays into prostitution and random sex where his life was often at stake as early as age twelve. In his teenage years, education fell to the wayside and by age sixteen, he was a permanent resident of the streets. Wojnarowicz's daily life consisted of tricking, shoplifting, and avoiding death with a gang of transvestites along the Hudson river. However by age twenty, he began to assemble the pieces of his life and his creativity began to emerge. Five years later in 1979, Wojnarowicz seemingly began his artistic career with photographic series produced, action installations created, and a true documentation of the world in his eyes underway. Wojnarowicz grew up as a man that had been exposed to all facets of the nightmare that can be found within the so-called American Dream. Abuse, abandonment, and alienation were themes that dominated his very existence.

The existence of the World and the Other World represents a paradigm that seems to manifest itself throughout the works of Wojnarowicz. The Other World was "a place where by virtue of having been born centuries late one is denied access to earth or space, choice or movement.," (Close to the Knives, p. 87). Wojnarowicz viewed the other world as so foreign to almost believe that it "was run by a different species of human beings," (Close to the Knives, p. 88). These human beings are the ones who have and can "read all the instruction manuals and follow them letter to the letter," to the positions of power, (Close to the Knives, p. 139). It is in this world that the likes of his foes such as Jesse Helms and Cardinal O'Connor reside; also while not quite as menacing, this world contains the millions...

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