Collection 1980s–Present

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David Wojnarowicz. Fire. 1987 225

Acrylic and cut-and-pasted paper on wood, two panels, 6 x 8' (182.9 x 243.8 cm). Gift of Agnes Gund and Barbara Jakobson Fund. © 2024 Estate of David Wojnarowicz

Artist, Marion Scemama: My name is Marion Scemama. I'm an artist, photographer, filmmaker. The most important moment of my life is when I met David Wojnarowicz. We start working together. We dreamed a lot of changing the world. I wish every person could have a friendship like that.

This painting is part of a series inspired by the elements: Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water. For me, Fire represent violence, tenderness, sweetness, but also the rage. That's what I loved in David's work, it's his rage. Rage, it's a form of resistance. It's a way of resisting all the pressure that make you just bent down and accept the world the way it is.

He was critical about American society and he was radical. The “pre-invented world” is an expression that David came up with. Pre-invented world means that when you are born, you arrive in a world where everything is already constructed, everything is already done and made for you to fit in. It's a world where you don't have power.

David used to say that the only power you have in this world is imagination, because in your imagination, you can do whatever you want. You can kill who you want. You can love who you want. Imagination was the power for him.

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