Cadavre Exquis

Exquisite Corpse 2000 by Jake Chapman and Dinos Chapman born 1966, born 1962

Cadavre Exquis is a method by which a collection of words or images is collectively assembled. Each collaborator adds to a composition in sequence, either by following a rule or by being allowed to see the end of what the previous person contributed.”

The game Cadavre Exquis (Exquisite Corpse in English) was invented by members of the Surrealist art movement in Paris in the early twentieth century. Starting as a pub game, it became “playful and eventually enriching” according to Surrealist principal founder André Breton.

Many surrealist artists partook in the game in which each participant would draw up to a fold line, to let someone else continue from the other side of the fold onwards.

The result of this game almost always leads to a surprising result and often to quite beautifully weird composition. The beauty of the game I think lies in the fact that it is an excuse and a shortcut to coming up with the most fantastical compositions without having to think of them. To force yourself to combine two completely unrelated subjects is quite difficult; self-censorhip prohibits you from doing it. The human nature is so conditioned to make sense out of things that it is very hard to intentionally make things that do not make sense.

I am interested in that unexpected outcome you get when you’re combining parts without knowing the relation between them beforehand. The eclectic results balance between object and sculpture; they remind you of functional objects but because of the absence of function they become sculptural shapes.

In fact these objects question what the relation is between objects and their function. As humans we give functions to objects. A chair is to sit on. But for someone who doesn’t know what a chair is, that might not be as obvious. Therefore you could give it a completely different function and dictate that that was what a chair was made for.

Exquisite objects are the result of coincidence and play. They are not functional by default because no-one has given them any. But as surprising as their appearance their function could become.

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