Dear AA Bronson,

It is with great pleasure that I honour today an artist of your
reputation and your talent. I don’t want to forget that you were a
artist with three faces, a living triptych of contemporary art in
kind. Indeed, you have done most of your work within
a trio, General Idea, founded in Toronto in 1969 with Felix Partz and Jorge
Zontal, and which dissolved twenty-five years later, only with their
a few months apart in 1994. Therefore, I would like to
same time as you, such a tribute to those creators with whom you
have shared art and life.

General Idea was an important step in artistic creation
contemporary. In accordance with Barthes' theory on the death of
the author» she, through the creation of a collective identity, upset the
traditional vision of the artist as solitary genius that romanticism
left us. General Idea, through his way of creating art, the
renew, stage and use it, maintains a close relationship
between artistic life and existence, both in what it can have of
more spiritual as in its most trivial aspects.

Dear AA Bronson, who studied architecture at the University of Manitoba,
you develop, within this group, an atypical way of facing the
artistic creation, and in the first place in the very way that you
started your career. You say that this was done by
while living in a Toronto store, where you
manufactured objects that passers-by began to want to buy, if
although your place of life has gradually become a true
art gallery. Far from entering the arts through the usual circuits and the
you have made your existence the very subject of your
work. It is the life you led with Jorge Zontal and Felix Partz that
naturally engendered an artistic creation, thus verifying the declaration
Michel Foucault: I think that a way of life can give rise to a

For General Idea, approaching art in an atypical way is also and especially
take on non-traditional artistic formats, which are
and popular culture. Thus, from 1972 to
1989, you publish the FILE Megazine, humorous embezzlement of
famous LIFE Magazine. Inspired by the DADA magazines of the 1920s,
FILE popularizes use of large circulation magazine as artwork
art. The group then proved to be a pioneer in the field of arts
and videography. For him, we must invest the
consumer society, own it, trade not
only an object but also a vector of art.

I still think with amusement of the false beauty contests that you
organized for several years under the name of Miss Contest
General Idea”, with a “Miss General Idea Pavilion”, elements
a complex mythology symbolizing the different stages of the
artistic creation, from the reflection on the work to its exhibition in
and its reception by the public. As part of this reflection on
art, you have decided to destroy before the hour the metaphorical pavilion
1984 - a nod to George Orwell - who was to gather your
creations, by a fire no less metaphorical. Architects
of the imaginary, you became its archaeologists, pointing to
those museums that only wanted to deal with dead artists and
turned into mausoleums of art. Combining art and life has always been a
fundamental axis of your creation.

Through beauty contests, TV shows, magazines to
large circulation, but also with the foundation, in 1974, of the art center
Toronto “Art Metropole,” whose mission is to
in value publications, videos and multiples of artists, these are
introduce new with old, use familiar shapes
The artistic production of General Idea is still
characterized by his commitment. But unlike conceptual art,
who shares with General Idea the strategy of misappropriation of media
of mass communication, this committed art never starts from a
form of humour and ambiguity, which gives all its strength to its production and
makes her so recognizable.

1987 marked a turning point in General’s creative direction
Idea, which now concentrates on the problem of AIDS, and
60 projects in the space of seven years. That’s probably
during this period that the group most marks its commitment, in
focusing on the diversion of familiar forms. The most famous example
remains the AIDS logo, directly copied on Robert Indiana’s LOVE, created
in 1964 without copyright and taken over by advertising. In
undertaking, I quote, to reintroduce into the world of art what the
industrial design had swiped to painting of the 1960s», you
I quote once again, “to share the artistic message with
familiar aura that would make the content more alarming.”
is a powerful means of expression because it creates surprise in the horizon
of convenience, it awakens the sleepy mind in the gangue of the
daily. But using the LOVE logo to say AIDS also has a
specific meaning about the disease: it was evoking proliferation
HIV was about unleashing what was left unnoticed everywhere.
General Idea’s commitment was born at a time when the
pandemic denial: the word was rarely spoken, reality kills with
modesty. By investing and using everyday space with
posters and sculptures of the AIDS logo, one could keep the same word
visible, and make the idea acceptable, natural, so that people
are no longer excluded from society. It is suffering
the daily life of these sick people whose works shatter almost
monumental group around the AZT. I’m thinking of these size pills
and especially to these entire walls covered with pills that the
patients must ingest every day, every month, every year. They
evoke the repetitive patterns of Warhol’s Pop art, but by bringing
a brighter light, a sharper look, far from the futile joys of
society of consumption. The meaning of such works is even more
strong when we know that Félix Partz and Jorge Zontal, who have HIV, are
Both died in 1994.

This heartbreaking loss, dear AA Bronson, is still thanks to art that
you have gradually overcome it. Since the brutal end of General Idea which
has, in a way, deprived you of two thirds of your identity, your
individual work focused on the issue of illness and death,
loss, individual trauma related to the issue of identity and
of the self. After making a sumptuous portrait of Felix Partz two hours
after his death, and another of Jorge Zontal during his stay in
The hospital, you represented yourself lying on a coffin.
Taking up the classic figure of the «lying» and the mythology of the «Belle
you reinvent them, you reinvent them. This look at yourself in
a fantasized death paradoxically renews with your concern to express the
consubstantial link between art and life. Through a reflection on relationships
between body and mind, history and memory, you make us take
awareness that, if the self of the person can be lost, the artist’s I
can recapture it through creation. You also show, with many
poetry, that the sick and the dead are part of us, that they live
with us this place that you call «the city of dreams».

General Idea has received many international awards, his works are part of
many public and private collections around the world. The
in particular, represented Canada at several
your personal work is no less successful, and
you are regularly exhibited worldwide, including in Paris,
where the Frédéric Giroux gallery pays you a personal tribute to each
for more than a decade. Today, we can rediscover
the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, thanks to
Fabrice Hergott and Frédéric Bonnet.

Dear AA Bronson, for your strong and powerful work on behalf of the
French Republic, we present you the insignia of Chevalier in
the Order of Arts and Letters.