Search for the Spirit consists of 10 silver gelatin prints showing a series of collages and images of various performances and shadow plays staged by General Idea at the beginning of the 1970s.
General Idea’s early works (1969–1984) mimicked popular culture formats, such as beauty pageants and mainstream magazines, in order to forward a critical and satirical view of art, culture and media. Their series of faux beauty pageants, begun in 1970, satirized glamour, fame and the art world. The notion of glamour, the myth of the artist, and the character they created, “Miss General Idea” became key motifs in the group’s iconography and mythology.
The expression “The Search for the Spirit (of Miss General Idea)” was used on many occasions by General Idea as a metaphor for the artist’s search for the idea. The different perspectives of a figure or a situation created here capture the essence of Miss General Idea 1984, as it is described in the final image of the series:
"MISS GENERAL IDEA 1984 is basically this: an idea framing device for arresting attention without throwing away the key. Hints of flesh-and-bone content are framed by beauty's-only-skin-deep context. We are surfacing on the surface of our desires defined by the intersection of differing points of view. Elevated she reigns; idealized she contains; artfully she maintains; dominantly she sustains our interests."