Sunday, November 13, 2011

Exquisite Garden

Helena Scheffer is hosting an exhibit at her art gallery (  of the Exquisite Corpse, or corps exquis.   Done way back in the '20s this was a game that the Dada-ists played, I'm sure while sitting in smokey cafés and drinking absinthe.  They folded a piece of paper in 3 or 4 and one would draw the head, fold it so it couldn't be seen, and then the next would draw the torso, the third the legs.  Any resemblance to a real human seemed to be accidental!
Below is the corpse made by myself, Rosie, and Hilary (the old TriThis gang).  Our only discussion involved using the colour green and a placement of the neck and legs.  

Rosie's head

My torso
An exhibit of Jean Paul Gaultier was in Montreal and I was very influenced by that.

Hilary's legs


Linda said...

I love these Dianne - looking forward to seeing posts of the exhibition! I found your remark about smoky rooms and absinthe interesting - not sure what my great-grandmother would have thought of that. We used to play it, often at Christmas, when we visited her or her son, my grandfather. Can't remember what we called it, but Pictorial Consequences comes to mind. I've always thought of it as an Edwardian parlour game.

Rosie said...

Linda I was interested by your comment about it being a parlour game... and went to investigate:

Wikipedia says:

The technique was invented by Surrealists and is similar to an old parlour game called Consequences in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold it to conceal part of the writing, and then pass it to the next player for a further contribution. Surrealism principal founder André Breton reported that it started in fun, but became playful and eventually enriching. Breton said the diversion started about 1925, but Pierre Reverdy wrote that it started much earlier, at least before 1918.[1][2]
In a variant now known as picture consequences, instead of sentences, portions of a person were drawn.[3]
Later the game was adapted to drawing and collage, producing a result similar to children's books in which the pages were cut into thirds, the top third pages showing the head of a person or animal, the middle third the torso, and the bottom third the legs, with children having the ability to "mix and match" by turning pages. The game has also been played with the usual orientation of foldings and four or more people, and there have been examples with the game played with only two people and the paper being folded lengthwise and widthwise, resulting in quarters[citation needed]. It has been played by mailing a drawing or collage—in progressive stages of completion—to the players, and this variation is known as "Exquisite Corpse by airmail", apparently regardless of whether the game travels by airmail or not.
The name is derived from a phrase that resulted when Surrealists first played the game, "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau." ("The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.")[4][5]

Dianne Robinson said...

Wow, you really added some good info. But looking at some of the drawings that were produced by the Dada-ists, I'm sure something else was involved!