The Return of the Exquisite Corpse

A surrealist parlor game, the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse) is an amusing way to construct a figure from a variety of disparate parts. Three or four people create a personage without knowing what the other players have done. A piece of paper is folded into multiple parts. The first participant draws the head; the next player makes the torso; and the final person adds the legs and feet. When the drawing is complete, it’s unfolded to reveal an astonishing work of art. Resurrecting this idea, artist and exhibition curator David Salle asked 200 fellow artists from around the world to collaborate on exquisite corpse drawings to benefit Armitage Gone! Dance.

For example, Josephine Meckseper began Exquisite Corpse 56 with a photograph of Susan Boyle’s smiling face; Laurie Anderson picked up on the lines Meckseper had drawn past the fold and drew a hand over a heart in the second section; Olaf Breuning pasted real cotton briefs into the third part; and Nick Mauss drafted a pair of crossed legs in the final section. Their imaginative collaboration, along with scores of other amazing examples of collective invention, can be viewed at Gasser/Grunert in New York through November 6.

Click through below for a gallery of images.


Exquisite Corpse 56: Josephine Meckseper, Laurie Anderson, Olaf Breuning, Nick Mauss