‘Self-Portrait in 23 Rounds, A Chapter in David Wojnarowicz’s Life (1989-1991)’
A film essay by Marion Scemama, co-directed with François Pain (2018)
"Thirty years in the making, Self-Portrait is an astonishing document of influence, friendship, love and the effort it takes to figure things out. Composed in the present from archival materials, it’s also the most historically truthful depiction of Wojnarowicz and the cultural moment he lived in that I’ve seen."
Chris Kraus, Sleek Magazine
LADA is delighted to host the first UK screening of Self Portrait in 23 Rounds, a film about the work and life of David Wojnarowicz. We will be joined by the filmmaker Marion Scemama and photographer Andreas Sterzing, who will be in conversation about their relationship with Wojnarowicz since the 1980s.
Political artist, painter, writer, performer, photographer, David Wojnarowicz died of AIDS in 1992 in New York. He was one of the leading figures of the New York Downtown artistic scene of the 1980s.
By confronting death and the AIDS crisis to the tough political context afflicting the most vulnerable people and all those left behind by the American dream, he quickly emerged as one of the main protest and radical artists in the Reagan-Bush years. Told through the voice of the artist, this unique document reveals how Wojnarowicz viewed his work and own death in a society that refused to confront the AIDS epidemic. The film includes previously unseen images from the director’s personal archives as well from Wojnarowicz’s archive.
The main thread of the film is a 4-hour interview conducted in May 1989. by Sylvere Lotringer, founder of Semiotext(e). Filmed in his loft, Wojnarowicz speaks about confronting his own death, AIDS, desire, sexuality, his work, the use of rage in his commitment, and the numerous contradictions he was going through at this time of his life.
Alongside the film we will also be presenting a series of photographic images of Wojnarowicz taken by photographer Andreas Sterzing.
On the night we will be collecting donations for Positive East which has been on the forefront of HIV service and care for over 26 years. We will also be selling a number of books about David Wojnarowicz and donate a portion of the profits to Positive East.
For more information about Wojnarowicz you can check out the following titles, available in Unbound online book store:
‘Fire in the Belly’ by Cynthia Carr, the first biography of Wojnarowicz
‘Weight of the Earth: The Tape Journals of David Wojnarowicz’ (Eds. Lisa Darms and David O'Neill) where Wojnarowicz’ talks about his frustrations with the art world, recounts his dreams, and describes his rage, fear, and confusion about his HIV diagnosis.