David Wojnarowicz’s Poetics: Magnifying Homosexual Male Bodies, Exalting Queer Intimacies
David Wojnarowicz was an American gay photographer and writer who died of AIDS in 1992. In his intimate works, he blames the American government for its lack of involvement in homosexual civil rights and recounts homophobic speeches that depicted homosexuality as a sin, homosexuals as aberrations, and AIDS as nature’s retribution against them. He responds to violence and the threat of social disappearance by photographing or openly depicting private homosexual encounters and the melancholic intimacy triggered by illness and death. This chapter studies the visual power of Wojnarowicz’s poetics of homoeroticism and loss, and considers how uncompromising descriptions of magnified male bodies provide a more accurate vision of sexual diversity and of the lived reality of AIDS. In cinematic narratives and thought-provoking photographs and collages, Wojnarowicz exposes homosexual intimacy and develops a poetics of desire and mourning, thus making visible, palpable, and unavoidable the relationships taking place in the margins of society.
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