Canadian artists group General Idea (1969-1994) 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. The three founding members, AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal worked and lived together until the deaths of Felix and Jorge in 1994. Their works touch upon topics such as archaeology, history, sex, race, illness, and the myth of the group itself through self-portraits, a recurring subject of their production.
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. During their twenty-five-year collaboration, General Idea produced numerous self-portraits, appearing in staged photographs disguised as poodles (P is for Poodle, 1983/89), children tucked in one bed (Baby Makes 3, 1984/89), college graduates (Nightschool, 1986), seal pups in an icy landscape (Fin de Siécle,1992), and doctors (Playing Doctor, 1992). Installed on a special test pattern wallpaper, each of these self-portraits takes as point of reference a specific body of work and as a set metonymically presents major works in the group's development of its self-mythologizing practice. The five self-portraits were exhibited as a set, installed with other works, in 2006 at the Kunsthalle Zürich on occasion of General Idea: Found Formats.