Throughout its 25-year-long career, the Collective—AA Bronson (b. Michael Tims, Vancouver, Canada, 1946), Felix Partz (b. Ronald Gabe, Winnipeg, Canada, 1945–d.Toronto, 1994) and Jorge Zontal (b. Slobodan Saia-Levi, Parma, Italy, 1944–d. Toronto, 1994)—produced an important body of work in various media and formats, which continues to be a reference point for generations of artists around the world.
Curated by Agustín Pérez Rubio, the exhibition surveys the artistic trajectory of General Idea, touching upon topics such as archaeology, history, sex, race, illness, self-representation, and the myth of the group itself, a recurring subject of their production. The exhibition gathers more than 120 works in all formats, including performance, video art, photography, publications, installations and the multiple editions of mass consumer objects.
This project aims to broaden the horizon of their legacy, encompassing their first collaborative pieces in 1969 and 1970, and their last works in 1994 before Partz and Zontal’s deaths from AIDS-related illnesses. The show focuses on the concept of the alteration of time, the ephemeral and the creation of a myth through the Collective’s relationship with advertising, design, fashion, beauty pageants and mass media.
One of their well-known bodies of work is their edition of FILE magazine between 1972 and 1989, an appropriation of the design of famous LIFE magazine that involved the collaboration of some of the most radical artists of the time such as “Art & Language” writer William Burroughs and the bands Talking Heads and The Residents, among others.
General Idea were pioneers in incorporating the issue of AIDS in art. In 1987 they took Robert Indiana’s work LOVE and transformed it into AIDS to create a logo that was used in many of their works. The exhibition will also present experimental projects from the 1960s and 1970s, such as Miss General Idea 1984, Miss General Idea Pageant, Miss General Idea Pavillion and the collective’s large installations with pills, which will bring to the audiences the social and political dimension of these works.
General Idea produced more than one hundred solo exhibitions and participated in 150 collective shows internationally in Paris, Sidney, the Venice Biennale, and Documenta in Kassel. In Latin America the artist only exhibited at the 1998 Sao Paulo Biennial, and this exhibition offers Latin American audiences a new approach to their work, which is already a legend.