exquisite corpse

"The 'exquisite corpse' . . . originated in a kind of group game. One player writes a phrase on a piece of paper, folds it to conceal part of what had been written, and passes the paper to another player, who writes something in response to the words that remain visible. This continues until every player has his say.

The assumption is that the collective unconscious of the group will produce a sentence that, however technically unintelligible, makes profound emotional sense. One sentence thus produced was "The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine" -- whence the label "exquisite corpse." . . . The sentence is absurd, but its details are evocative, separately and in combination. The importance of the exquisite corpse is that it is a collaborative work of art, and as such undermines the traditional idea of the independent author. More subtly, it suggests that each of its authors has something unconscious in common.

The [visual exquisite corpse] readily creates associations. In the end, one finds oneself looking at something familiar, however distorted, as though in a dream . . . an adventure into unknown visual territory, where it found what it knew to be emotionally true, however strange. Thus what was unexpected has become expected, even foreordained."

from A Critical History of Twentieth Century Art, Donald Kuspit


  1. great images. where did you pull them from?

  2. any answer to my above question?

  3. hi there, and thank you stu! apologies for the delay... the images are meant to be reassembled to create new juxtapositions - in book form they are all complete images on loose pages and the above compilations are my own. images are from buckminster fuller, haekle, noguchi, albers, tobias putrih and others, in addition to photos of my own models. most references are pulled from research done over the course of a year on 20th century and contemporary artists and architects - books from our library and online archives. if you'd like a specific reference let me know the image and i'll get back to you! thanks!!!


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