Just in time for Halloween “Exquisite Corpse” will come to Gallery on the Avenue in Chestnut Hill on Friday, Oct. 25, from 7-9 p.m.
Begun in Paris by the surrealists Marcel Duchamp and Andre Breton, “Exquisite Corpse” will take place at 8622 Germantown Ave. under the guidance of local Gallery on the Avenue artists-in-residence: sculptor Christopher Ward and painters Judy McCabe Jarvis and Noelle Wister.
This collaborative art project has a devoted following in artistic communities throughout the United States and abroad. The idea first emerged at the gallery in conversation with current Hiller, former Chicago resident and art patron Kathleen Hogan. After participating in an unforgettable and very memorable Exquisite Corpse event in Chicago, Kathleen was especially enthusiastic about seeing it happen in Chestnut Hill. Inspired by this novel idea, artists at Gallery on the Avenue will work alongside aspiring artist participants to freely create and invent an emerging collaborative work of art in both clay and paint/drawing mediums.
Participants will be invited to join in by taking turns either sculpting in clay or drawing different sections of the body individually. Suspense builds as each person creates their own vision of the body until finally, at the end of the session, a new creation is born.
The roots of “Exquisite Corpse” can be found in the 1930s with the artists Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera. Kahlo delighted in rendering satirical and cartoonish depictions of Rivera, one of which, for example, shows the macho muralist looking distinctly uncomfortable teetering on high heels alongside a broom.
The success of “Exquisite Corpse" is rooted in spontaneity and chance. When writing in his surrealist manifesto in 1924, Andre Breton declared, “We are at once both recipients of and contributors to the joy of witnessing the sudden appearance of creatures none of us had foreseen, but which we ourselves had nonetheless created.”
Exquisite Corpse is both unpredictable and collaborative while also disrupting the working mind's penchant for order. Although the surrealist creators disbanded in the 1930s, Exquisite Corpse lives on. Artists continue to play the game, probing the meaning of collaboration, partnership and unfettered creativity.
Not just for artists, Exquisite Corpse opens the mind and inspires creativity in anyone who wants to open a door into the spontaneous unknown.
To RSVP, call 215-740-6426.