Glossary

What is Exquisite Corpse?

The phrase "Exquisite Corpse" may seem horrifying, yet it has its origins in surrealist art and literature. Surrealism was a cultural movement in the twentieth century recognized for its unorthodox and imaginative methods of production. In the 1920s, André Breton, a prominent figure in the Surrealist movement, and his associates, most notably Yves Tanguy and Marcel Duchamp, devised this fictitious game.


Surrealist whimsy inspired the name "Exquisite Corpse." Legend has it that the phrase was coined at a surrealist gathering when a line of poetry was created by combining the last word of one poem with the first word of the next. This led to the expression "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau," which translates to "The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine." The title and source of inspiration for the game were taken from this curious statement.

Exquisite Corpse Acting


So, how does one go about playing the Exquisite Corpse? Like the art it inspired, it's simple but complex. The game may be played by a group of people and usually centers around one of three creative categories: writing, drawing, or merging the two.


In its literary form, The Exquisite Corpse starts with a piece of paper. Writing a word, phrase, or statement on each sheet of paper sequentially is the secret. Only the portion preceding their input may be perceived by them. This restriction ensures that no single individual has total control over the narrative. The result of the paper's final unfolding is a strange, unexpected, and even absurd story that incorporates the creative voices of all of the participants. The collaborative story may be a fantastic imaginative journey, and its delight lies in its turmoil and surprise.


In the game's visual variant, artists take turns creating a portion of a picture or collage, with just a small portion of the previous contributor's work displayed. When the artwork is finished, it is an intriguing fusion of many elements and styles that show the value of group creativity.

Exquisite Corpse in Modern Culture


The Exquisite Corpse is not a surrealist movement relic. Its timeless beauty and adaptability continue to captivate the minds of contemporary artists and authors. The game may now be found in a wide range of settings, from collaborative online projects to classroom exercises and creative workshops. It has been digitally edited, allowing anyone from all around the world to contribute. The Exquisite Corpse is a refreshing departure from the highly prized originality and authorship of today's culture. It serves as an example of the beauty that may arise when we let go of a portion of our individuality as creators and let our concepts blend with those of others.


The Exquisite Corpse fosters not just cooperation but also an openness to the unexpected, which is one of its most thrilling features. Participants relinquish control, enabling others' creative ideas to grow. 


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