Exquisite Corpse: The Collaborative Surrealist Technique

Unpredictable and Unforgettable: The Allure of Exquisite Corpse Art and How to Create Your Own

If you are a fan of surrealist art, you have probably heard of the Exquisite Corpse technique. This collaborative technique was invented by the Surrealists in the early 20th century as a way to create unexpected and bizarre artworks. In this article, we will explore the history of the Exquisite Corpse technique, how it was used by surrealist artists, and the step-by-step approach for you to play Exquisite Corpse with friends. We will also take a closer look at some of the most intriguing and famous works of Exquisite Corpse art.

History of Exquisite Corpse

The Exquisite Corpse technique was invented by the Surrealists in the 1920s. The term "Exquisite Corpse" comes from a phrase that was accidentally created during one of the first games of this technique. The Surrealists were a group of artists and writers who were interested in exploring the subconscious and the irrational. They believed that by tapping into these areas, they could create new forms of art that were free from the constraints of traditional techniques and styles.

The Exquisite Corpse technique was a way for the Surrealists to collaborate and create unexpected and bizarre artworks. The technique involved a group of artists or writers creating a work of art together, each contributing a part without seeing the contributions of the others. The final result was a surreal and often humorous piece of art that was greater than the sum of its parts.

How Exquisite Corpse was Used by Surrealist Artists

The Surrealists used the Exquisite Corpse technique in a variety of ways. Some used it as a way to create drawings or paintings, while others used it to create poems or stories. The technique was often used as a game, with the Surrealists taking turns to contribute to the artwork or story. The resulting works were often strange and absurd, reflecting the Surrealists' interest in the irrational and the subconscious.

One of the most famous Exquisite Corpse artworks was created by André Breton, the leader of the Surrealist movement. In 1938, Breton organized a game of Exquisite Corpse in which the participants were required to create a drawing of a woman. The resulting artwork, known as "Cadavre Exquis," was a series of four drawings that showed different parts of the woman's body. Each drawing was done by a different artist, and the final result was a surreal and erotic depiction of a woman.

How to Play Exquisite Corpse with Friends

Playing Exquisite Corpse with friends is easy and fun. Here is a step-by-step approach:

  1. Gather a group of friends who are interested in playing Exquisite Corpse.
  2. Decide on the medium you will use (e.g. drawing, painting, writing).
  3. Decide on the theme or subject of the artwork or story.
  4. Decide on the order in which each person will contribute.
  5. Each person starts by contributing a part of the artwork or story, without seeing the contributions of the others.
  6. Pass the artwork or story to the next person in the order.
  7. Each person adds to the artwork or story based only on the part contributed by the previous person.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the artwork or story is complete.

It is important to note that Exquisite Corpse is a collaborative technique, so it's important to keep an open mind and be willing to let go of control over the final result. The goal is to create something unexpected and unpredictable, so don't be afraid to take risks and be creative.

Famous Works of Exquisite Corpse Art

There are many famous works of Exquisite Corpse art, created by both Modern Surrealist and Contemporary artists. These 3 examples from Modern masters may not all follow the traditional Exquisite Corpse format, but they serve to demonstrate how impactful the game has been in the minds of Modern artists. Here are some of the most intriguing and famous examples of Exquisite Corpse art:

"Cadavre Exquis" by André Breton

As mentioned earlier, "Cadavre Exquis" is one of the most famous Exquisite Corpse artworks. It was created in 1938 by André Breton and a group of Surrealist artists. The artwork is a series of four drawings that depict different parts of a woman's body. Each drawing was done by a different artist, without seeing the contributions of the others.

"The Exquisite Corpse Shall Drink the New Wine" by Man Ray

This Exquisite Corpse artwork was created by the American artist Man Ray in 1927. It is a series of four photographs that show a distorted human face. The photographs were created by folding and manipulating a single sheet of photographic paper, without the use of a camera.

"Exquisite Corpse" by Max Ernst

This Exquisite Corpse artwork was created by Max Ernst in 1926. It is a painting that shows a surreal landscape with strange creatures and objects. The painting was created by collaging different images together, without any regard for traditional perspective or composition.

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The Exquisite Corpse technique is a fascinating and unique approach to creating art. It allows artists and writers to collaborate and create unexpected and unpredictable works that reflect the Surrealist interest in the irrational and the subconscious. By following the step-by-step approach outlined in this article, you can play Exquisite Corpse with your friends and create your own surreal and bizarre works of art.

FAQs

1. What does the term "Exquisite Corpse" mean?

The term "Exquisite Corpse" comes from a phrase that was accidentally created during one of the first games of this technique.

2. What is the goal of Exquisite Corpse art?

The goal of Exquisite Corpse art is to create unexpected and unpredictable works that reflect the Surrealist interest in the irrational and the subconscious.

3. Who invented the Exquisite Corpse technique?

The Exquisite Corpse technique was invented by the Surrealists in the 1920s.

4. Can Exquisite Corpse be played with any medium?

Yes, Exquisite Corpse can be played with any medium, including drawing, painting, and writing.

5. Are there any rules to playing Exquisite Corpse?

The only rule of Exquisite Corpse is that each person can only see the contribution of the previous person, and not the entire artwork or story.