THEME 31
EXQUISITE CORPSE
(2-31 December, 2021)

Exquisite Corpse: this visual and literary game has slipped into everyday language. The first participant begins the drawing, then folds the sheet of paper in order to hide everything but the few lines to which the next participant will connect their contribution, and on it goes. On the literary side, the same method is used for the ends of sentences. The outcome is what is called an exquisite corpse (or cadavre exquis). The exercise, which originated in the surrealist art movement, creates chance connections, surprising shifts, and uncanny familiarities that liberate words and images of their meanings. Furthermore, the encounter that makes the exquisite corpse possible can potentially help us to see hitherto unknown facets of ourselves, illuminated by the other’s gaze.

December’s theme at Quarantined Museum was inspired by the Impatients collection exhibition, Constellations, on show at the Musée until next January 9. Les Impatients is an organization with a mission to help those having mental health problems through artistic expression. As explained in the text proposed by the Education department this month, the Impatients (i.e., the impatient ones) are called as such “because they are not considered as patients, but as creators who are impatient to heal, to develop their art, and to find a role in society when they will be well again.” The organization collects art works produced by participants in workshops held throughout Quebec. The exhibition also includes a collective work to which the public is invited to contribute, highlighting the importance of community where issues of mental health are concerned.

In the present call to creation, we invite you to consider the exquisite corpse in all its dimensions, both textual and visual. Are you familiar with some surrealist writers or with surrealist paintings? What is your favorite surrealist work? What effect does the juxtaposition of elements have on you? Embarrassment? Wonder? Disdain? Incomprehension? Does art teach you things about yourself? Do you do collective creation? Why not explore these ideas with a pen pal? Try texting with old fiends that you haven’t seen very often. Or your children, your parents. Via drawing, or photomontage. Have fun creating a story by blindly juxtaposing images or words—or both—drawn from various sources.