Exquisite Corpse  a virtual art proyect by e-mail cadaver exquisito / Elias Adasme, Hans Braumüller, Humberto Nilo, Clemente Padin / Arte Virtual
History Exquisite Corpse

On the second decade of the XX century, the surrealist movement was in the midst of development of that would later on be known as "the automatic writting"; a formal search for intuitive and spontaneous expression of artistic creation. For this they explored various possibilities for "to force the imagination" . One of the favorite Surrealistic games during this intuitive period of the movement was the creation of  "exquisites corpses", which could be either verbal o visual.

André Breton, Paul Eluard, Tristan Tzara and Valentine Hugo.
"Exquisite Corpse" 1929.
Pastel on paper; 40.5 x 24.5 cm
Moderna Museet, Stockholm


The verbal form was a sentence composed by three or more persons, each of whom was assigned a specific part to write (subject, verb, predicate, etc.), but none of whom knew that the others had written. The game took its name from the first such sentence composed in this manner, which read,

"The exquisite / corpse/ shall drink/ the bubbling wine"

In a visual "exquisite corpse", each person drew something on a sheet of paper and then folded the sheet so the next person could not see what form the drawing had taken. Only a few guides left at the edge indicate where to continue. That way they obtain a group image, as the result of the sum of the participants at each fold.

Four artists made this "exquisite corpse". André Breton began this sketch at the top. He ten folded the paper and handed it to Paul Eluard, who could see only the lines where Breton had ended. Tristan Tzara and Valentine Hugo completed the drawing.

André Bretón explained: "What trilled us in these productions was the certainly that, for better or worse, they stood for something that couldn't possibly be the work of a single brain, and posses to an exceptional degree that quality of drift which means so much poetry."

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