GENERAL IDEA "TEST PATTERN PLACEMAT", 1988
Their 'Test Pattern Placemats' represent the SMPTE color bars familiar to TV viewers of earlier generations. Building on the collective’s 1979 video piece Test Tube (a comical meditation on the collapse of popular and high culture through the mass media), Test Pattern reproduces the TV screen to comment on the ubiquity and dominance of television at the end of the 20th century. One could add that this work is a nod or a critique of the concept of TV-dinner.
The initial impetus to create Test Pattern came from the exhibition venue itself, Spiral, in Tokyo, Japan. Established in 1985 by the Wacoal Corporation, Spiral is an arts center that includes exhibition spaces, a restaurant, a gallery shop, and a cutting-edge video production facility.
General Idea was intrigued by the concept of a place where you can "look, shop, and eat" and thus produced a work that could participate in all three while featuring the prevailing image of Japanese life, a video monitor.
This is a fantastic and iconic example of General Idea's work. It can be found in numerous museum collections including the MoMA, the Walker and the Stedelijk (Amsterdam) amongst others.
"Test Pattern Placemats"
Medium Offset lithograph with plastic laminate
Signed, dated, and numbered by the artist verso
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