MAGI© BULLET (1992), EARLY WORKS (1968-1975)

General Idea
June 25 – July 29, 2006

Magi© Bullet, 1992 (ceiling)

Silver helium-filled Mylar balloon, multipart

Shaped like pharmaceutical capsules, helium-inflated silver balloons cover the ceiling of the gallery. Conceived as an evolving work—balloons were not re-filled but slowly lost their buoyancy—and a participatory experience—visitors were allowed to take a balloon—the work was part of General Idea's campaign to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic.

 

Magi© Carpet, 1992 (floor)
Standard fluorescent fixtures

A bed of fluorescent lights lying on the floor lightens the space, quoting Dan Flavin’s use of fluorescent tubes.

 

Playing Doctor, 1992 (wall)

Lacquer on vinyl digital print

In this heavily retouched self-portrait, the three artists embody a team of doctors: Zontal is placed in the center of the image slightly elevated above Partz and Bronson. Begun in the mid-1980s, General Idea's group self-portraits entitled Three Men Series present the artists as a shared identity and play a central role in their artistic practice.

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

Canvas Weaving, 1970

4 vintage black & white photographs (2 images per sheet), 8 canvas straps
For this work Felix Partz cut a large piece of canvas into strips and then replicated the pattern of the weave - in magnified proportions - on the ground before hanging it on the wall. The work refers to the Fluxus movement and it also demonstrates Felix Partz' concerns about painting.

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

Magi© Bullet, 1992 (ceiling)

Silver helium-filled Mylar balloon, multipart

Shaped like pharmaceutical capsules, helium-inflated silver balloons cover the ceiling of the gallery. Conceived as an evolving work—balloons were not re-filled but slowly lost their buoyancy—and a participatory experience—visitors were allowed to take a balloon—the work was part of General Idea's campaign to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic.

 

Magi© Carpet, 1992 (floor)
Standard fluorescent fixtures

A bed of fluorescent lights lying on the floor lightens the space, quoting Dan Flavin’s use of fluorescent tubes.

 

Playing Doctor, 1992 (wall)

Lacquer on vinyl digital print

In this heavily retouched self-portrait, the three artists embody a team of doctors: Zontal is placed in the center of the image slightly elevated above Partz and Bronson. Begun in the mid-1980s, General Idea's group self-portraits entitled Three Men Series present the artists as a shared identity and play a central role in their artistic practice.

 

Photo © Carsten Eisfeld

MAGI© BULLET (1992), EARLY WORKS (1968-1975)

General Idea
June 25 – July 29, 2006
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Formed in 1969 by Jorge Zontal, Felix Partz and AA Bronson in Toronto, General Idea soon came to international attention with their conceptual approaches, interventions into the media environment, and appropriation of popular culture. In 1989 Esther Schipper opened her gallery in Cologne with a General Idea solo exhibition. Only a few years later, in 1994, the collective came to an end, due to the AIDS-related deaths of Partz and Zontal. Yet, the interest in their work grows continuously as it remains acutely relevant. General Idea has had a great historical influence on several of the artists represented by the gallery, and it is a great pleasure to present this exhibition.

 

In the main space Magi© Bullet, an exhibition originally presented at Stux Gallery in New York in 1992, is re-enacted. A bed of fluorescent lights lying on the floor (Magi© Carpet) lightens the space, and silver helium-filled balloons in the shape of pills cover the ceiling. The pill became a crucial feature in the late work of General Idea and their Pla©ebo-series, and in this case they form a homage to Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds from 1966. They also occur in the portrait Playing Doctor presenting the three members as concerned doctor—the last work in General Idea’s series of staged self-portraits.

 

In the second space a series of earlier works (1968–1975) are exhibited. Editions and multiples form an important part of General Idea’s oeuvre, however these works are almost all of them unique. Some of the works share affinities with Fluxus, like for example Canvas Weaving (1970): a large piece of canvas has been cut into strips and then the pattern of the weave has been replicated—in magnified proportions. Furthermore two photo works from the Light On series are on view. Each consists of two identical motives (of a landscape or a building, for example). By use of a mirror a small, distorted rectangle has been overexposed, allowing one to see nothing or every detail in this particular area.

 

The screen print Artist’s Conception: Miss General Idea 1971 was the beginning of General Idea’s work within the framework of a beauty pageant—representing the ultimate applauding of a cultural ideal. This would include the production of flyers, posters, a promotional network and not the least the fictive 1984 Miss General Idea Pavillion (1968–1978). It also marked a shift of focus towards a more spectacular and shockingly glamorous aesthetics—an approach that is exemplified in the Magi© Bullet part of the exhibition.

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