Singular Visions: AA Bronson, "Felix Partz, June 5, 1994," 1994 and 1999

Uploaded by WhitneyFocus on 06.05.2011

My name is AA Bronson.
I'm an artist.
I worked for 25 years in a group,
a collective as they seem
to be called now,
called General Idea.
We began in '69 in Toronto,
kind of by accident.
Eventually, we moved to New York
in the mid-'80s.
Jorge and Felix both became positive...
HIV positive in '89, '90.
We moved back to Toronto
and they both died...
they both died at home there.
So in Felix's case, this portrait
is the image of him just after he died.
It's about...
I took it about three hours after he died.
And it's how he presented himself
to his friends
for the last two weeks of his life.
As he became more ill, he became
more and more vibrantly colored
and surrounded with pattern.
More full of life, in a way.
There was a constant stream of friends
going in and out,
and the nurses and the doctors,
and I still remember in particular
that last Christmas dinner
where we had a big table with 13 people,
Jorge with his IV unit
and his favorite nurse next to him,
and it was actually like
a really beautiful time.
It wasn't horrible at all.
It was quite the opposite.
It was a very profound time.
Because we knew we had
a limited amount of time,
we worked like crazy.
I mean, the work just poured
out of the studio
during those last few months.
When I took the photo,
it's like I can still remember
the moment exactly,
it was like the hairs on my neck
stood right up on end, you know.
It was kind of a terrifying moment.
And I knew that I would have
to do something with it, but I couldn't...
at that moment, I couldn't imagine what.
I just couldn't imagine what.
And it took me, in fact, five years
to figure out what to do with it.
I added the date in the corner.
I went through a period
where all of the works I produced
were essentially dates,
sort of autobiographical.
We lived our lives in a kind of public
and semi-fictional narrative kind of way.
We lived in the media.
Our art and our life were always
very much intertwined so that,
in a way, it was a very appropriate way
for everything to end as well.