AA Bronson: Starting in the late 60s, in ’69 actually, I started working with two people, Jorge Zontal and Felix Partz in a group, and we called ourselves General Idea.
Narrator: The artist AA Bronson.
AA Bronson: We worked together for twenty-five years, until 1994. That’s the year that both of them died. And this image is taken of Felix, at that moment of his death. In the last few weeks of his life he started surrounding himself with more and more color and pattern. Colored sheets, colored pillows, the clothing he wore. Everything became sort of more and more vivid, in a way more and more full of life. And so I wanted to document that, and I took this picture as he was lying there waiting for the first visitor to arrive.
Now Felix died of wasting. He died of AIDS and the only illness he had was basically wasting away. He had no opportunistic infections. He was very very lucky. But what that meant was that there wasn’t enough flesh left on the body to be able to close his eyes. So that’s why the eyes are open. And you can see around him—really, we, we left him as he was when he died, with his cigarettes at hand, with his channel changer for the television, with his tape recorder, because he wanted to record—the thoughts that went through his head.
In a way I think of the body as a house. It’s a house that we inhabit as if it’s the real world. At night we fall into dreams. And while we’re asleep we think those dreams are the real world too. And really we have no way of judging which is real and which is not. In this world, this world that—we’re unable to judge the reality of this world, I think we have to remember that along with the living, the dead are still with us.