General Idea

Canus Major: The Origin of the Heavenly Waters, 1983

General Idea
Canus Major: The Origin of the Heavenly Waters
Dimensions and medium
Acrylic on canvas, gold leaf imitation and gold leaf on wood, 244 × 305 cm
Artwork description
In the early 1970s, the Canadian collective General Idea planned and constructed the Miss General Idea Pavilion, a kind of false mythology loosely based on George Orwell’s science-fiction novel 1984. The trio glorified the “glamorous” aspect behind the frequently re-elected fictional character of Miss General Idea. The project gained momentum from year to year, and this form of parodic social critique became the group’s primary artistic vehicle. Canus Major : The Origin of the Heavenly Waters features the image of a poodle, a recurring motif in their work that symbolized the “desire to please,” evoking the slick discourse of the art world and the stereotypical image of homosexual identity. This pampered social animal appears on several of the pavilion’s murals. In this piece, the poodle creates an interplanetary trajectory that ironizes both the art scene and our collective vision of the world in general. The work’s structure functions on a dual level by creating an idol in the image of General Idea’s own mythology, and revealing the paradoxical nature of the near-impenetrable language that is often associated with various aspects of the cultural domain.

Only a part of the collection is currently online and the artworks on display at the MAC are accompanied by the icon

The contents presented in this section are not exhaustive and may be subject to revision. If you have comments to share, or errors to report, please contact us at [email protected].

For information about copyright and intellectual property, or for a reproduction request, see our Terms of Use.