General Idea: Mondo Cane Kama Sutra

Mondo Cane Kama Sutra (installation view) 1984, acrylic on canvas. 10 canvases, 245 x 305 cm each. Image courtesy the Estate of General Idea; © Pierre Antoine, Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris / ARC, 2011.

ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO
July 30, 2011–January 1, 2012

“Haute Culture” is a preeminent opus of the collective General Idea that features approximately 300 pieces of artwork, consisting of paintings, magazines, sculptures and video.  Being an extremely unconventional trio, General Idea’s artwork reflects this by the materials and sometimes colours used which often vary from loud neon shades to whites and blues all intricately corresponding to various themes presented.

One piece that highly stands out, however, is the Mondo Cane Kama Sutra, 1984. This features a running theme of three poodles each on ten panels, carrying out various sexual positions. What makes this piece so remarkable is the neon colour of the poodles presented on the canvases and the scale of the panels, creating a gigantic eye-capturing façade. The fact that this artwork brings out a taboo in human society, homosexuality, makes the artwork all the more appealing in light of its daring attempt to depict an often misunderstood subject. The lines used in this piece are undoubtedly straight and perhaps unyielding and this may be a subtle allusion to the rigidness and ‘straightness’ of society in the 1980’s  juxtaposing the general theme of the artwork.

Haafiz Karim

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