Exquisite Corpse website that has a great picture of the artists involved, artwork, and interesting information about the drawing style. I never knew, or forgot if I did know at one point, that Exquisite Corpse started out as writing! Here is an excerpt from the website.
Among Surrealist techniques exploiting the mystique of accident was a kind of collective collage of words or images called the cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse). Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.
Folding the paper was the hardest part of the project. I calculated how much time we had to work after folding the paper and divided that by the number of students at each table. I said when to start and when to rotate so that every section would be filled and the original student would get their drawing back. It averaged about 2-3 minutes for drawing on each section. Some students drew something in about 30 seconds and thought they were done so I encouraged them to keep adding details. This is how the drawing process worked:
- Each student writes their name on the back of the paper they folded.
- Time starts and each student draws something, anything school appropriate, the more random the better, in the top section of their paper. They make a tiny part of the drawing overlap the crease.
- When time is up, the first section is folded backwards so only blank paper and the tiny overlapping part is visible.* Rotate.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 with the next section, moving down the paper. No peaking at what the previous student drew! Students can use the tiny visible part of the drawing to influence their drawings.
- When the paper returns to the original artist, unfold and admire the artwork!
When the students unfolded their papers, it was like opening a present on Christmas morning! They really enjoyed seeing how the artwork came together and finding "their" section on the other students' drawings. Most of the students really enjoyed the process of the project but I had one or two perfectionists that didn't really buy into the collaborative process. I guess other students just don't live up to their standards! :) I told the students that even though we worked together, the paper with their name on the back would be their artwork. My Tuesday class had an extra period to work on the papers so they added color. I really like the colorful artwork, the pencil line drawings don't photograph very well. I would definitely do this project again.
Another project I started was a whole class Exquisite Corpse drawing. I put out a long roll of paper on the floor and called one student at a time to add to it. I decided to use the number order in place in their classroom for organization. We'll work on the drawing a little at a time (if we have extra class time) until the paper is filled.
Check out the artwork below and feel free to visit my students' Exquisite Corpse drawings in our Artsonia exhibit!