Exquisite Corpses

An exquisite corpse book is a collaborative project, where each person makes an artistic contribution—a drawing, a print—to the final product.  No one knows quite how it will turn out until it is put together.

The exquisite corpse idea began as a Surrealist word play, each player adding one word to complete a sentence with unexpected results.  The artists’ version of the exquisite corpse works on the same principal with each artist adding an element.

Here’s one common bookmaking adaptation of the exquisite corpse:  Take a set of prints of the same size that depict two human figures.  Cut the prints vertically to separate the figures.  Then cut them horizontally into thirds—heads, torsos, and legs.  By turning these little pages, you can mix and match the body parts of the “exquisite corpse” to create your own unique bodies.  The number of combinations is staggering!   

Johannesburg: Artist Proof Studio, 1997