David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was a prominent artist in New York in the 1980’s working easily across media, including painting, drawing, photography, film, and performance art. He called his work “fragmented mirrors of what I perceive to be the world.” This aptly describes his style of filmmaking which incorporated quick, rough montage and recurring images to create a poetic meditation on man, life, death, faith, and suffering. A Fire In My Belly was made in part as a response to the AIDS-related death of his mentor and former lover, artist Peter Hujar. In the original 13-minute silent film, Wojnarowicz juxtaposes casual black and white footage from the streets of Mexico with iconic images. After Wojnarowicz’s own untimely death from AIDS in 1992, a separate seven-minute version was found in his studio. A 4-minute version, shown at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery as part of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, was edited by curator Jonathan Katz and Bart Everly with audio from an ACT UP march in which David Wojnarowicz’ voice is audible.
This program includes all three versions of the film.
A Fire In My Belly (Film In Progress), 1986-87
Super 8mm film transferred to video, black-and-white and color, silent, 13:06 minutes
A Fire In My Belly Excerpt, 1986-87
Super 8mm film transferred to video, black-and-white and color, silent, 7 minutes.
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY VERSION
A Fire In My Belly, 1986-87/ 2010
Edited by Jonathan D. Katz and Bart Everly
With additional audio added from ACT UP demonstration June 1989 with David Wojnarowicz’ voice