Felix Partz & Embracing Mortality

felix partz photographed by aa bronson

Felix Partz was one of three members of General Idea, a Canadian art collective that forged a path for media-based art in the 20th century. Together with AA Bronson and Jorge Zontal, they covered topics like TV shows, politics, beauty pageants, advertising, and the AIDS crisis. This last one was especially important because Felix and Jorge both died of AIDS in 1994, ending the trio’s 27-year run.

In the photo above, Bronson shows us Felix Partz’s body just hours after his death.  Towards the end of his life, Felix wanted to live in a way that was more beautiful, vivid, and full of life. As a result, he surrounded himself with bright colors and bold patterns. The liveliness of Felix’s surroundings creates an interesting contrast to the dead man in the bed, the man so emaciated that there wasn’t enough flesh left in his body to close his eyes.

In regards to confronting mortality, Bronson said, “We need to remember that the diseased, the disabled, and yes, even the dead walk among us. They are part of our community, our history, our continuity. They are our co-inhabitants in this dream city.”

This picture is currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art.