Exquisite Corpse

Corpse 1

Exquisite Corpse is an art form invented by surrealists in 1925. A corpse is depicted with many sayings written in speaking bubble form around it’s head. The different says are often contributed by many different people. It is believed that it originally came from a game called consequences. In the game players would write down something about a person and then hide part of what they wrote from the next player.

This later evolved into a game where a portion of the person was drawn on the player and then later into Exquisite Corpse. In some variations of the game, each player was mailed a section to create their own art. This was called “airmail” or “mail art”. The surrealist came up with the name Exquisite Corpse after playing the game they named it the “Exquisite corpse will drink the new wine” or “Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau.” It was later turned into a children’s book in which children could flip the slatted pages to form different caricatures.

The top section being the head, the middle section being the torso and of course the bottom section depicting the legs. Modern digital artists have derived many variations including one in which a body is divided into tile sections like a quilt, each given to a different artist to depict their section in their own way. Later when the pieces are uploaded onto the internet and pulled together to form a surreal image of a body. Many different forms of art have since used Exquisite Corpse including music.

There is even a movie about the Exquisite Corpse game. The ideas were eventually fused together when a group of ten film directors and musicians collaborated the art of film-making and song-writing in “Cadavre Exquis première édition.” Since then, Exquisite Corpse, still continues to grow and expand as more artists take it to new heights.