Exquisite Corpse Games

V 2.0 A Surreal Art Game Where Arts Science and Life Meet

Artist Jose Rodeiro ECG 2019


Head by :Jose Rodeiro

José Rodeiro. André Breton Inventing The Exquisite Corpse Game (1925), Oil on wood, 2019.

My painting depicts a parlor within a Montparnasse house owned by three Surrealists (Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duhamel, Jacques Prévert) along Rue du Chateau, during a late-afternoon visit in April, 1925, from the “Father of Surrealism,” André Breton and another Surrealist guest, Benjamin Péret.   Hanging on the wall behind the poet’s head is a painting titled Siesta (1925) on loan from artist Joan Miró (Breton’s favorite Surrealist painter), abstractly depicting a voluptuous ghost-like nude odalisque asleep, with abstract aquatic tapeworms randomly dancing Sardanas on a tinted cobalt blue sea (the tinted cobalt-blue background of Miró’s painting that engulfs Breton’s head).  In the parlor, the three hosts and their two guests have just finished a five-part shortened “Breton-inspired” variant of the eighteenth-century parlor game “Conséquence.”  As the Paris afternoon fades, slightly exhausted from walking to Montparnasse, the guest of honor, Breton almost swoons as if in a trance, languorously pondering the first “collective-automatist” line (poetic-image) that his “new” condensed parlor game has engendered: “Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau” (“The exquisite corpse shall drink the new wine”).  This highly innovative line both names and inaugurates Breton’s enduring “Exquisite Corpse Game.”  That evening, everyone in the room marveled at the momentous line (“image”) of Marxist communal poetry that had involuntarily emerged after Breton cleverly modifying the game into an abridged five-part folding-paper technique capable of automatically manufacturing brilliant lines of poetry without aesthetic judgement or artistry (when each player individually contributed a specific (assigned) structural-element (i.e., 1). Noun (Breton), 2). Adjective (Tanguy), 3). Verb (Duhamel), 4). Object (Prévert), and 5). Adverb (Péret)) without any overt apriori knowledge of the others’ input, nor any formal creative consideration of the entire line (thus, eschewing the hyper-materialistic concept of a “finished product”), thereby, removing all proprietorship  of being an individual author (“owner”), consequently replacing such bourgeois capitalist concerns with a novel Marxist collective communal effort; while instantaneously manufacturing marvelous and spectacular lines of free-verse liberated from the confines of individual thought.  Thus, attaining Surrealism’s main goal: “Pure psychic automatism” (complete anarchic freedom of the mind).   

The French bouquet floating behind Breton’s head signifies his past, symbolizing his poetry prior to the invention of “Exquisite Corpse,” e.g., when describing in the poem “L’Union libre”(‘Free Union’) (1921)  his first wife, Simone Collinet’s  breasts, Breton wrote:  “Beneath the dew-moistened roses, my wife’s breasts are haunted ghostly specters,” or “My wife’s ghost-breasts are roses under dew.”  This unique poetic approach (utilizing highly discordant imagery) represents one of the poet’s early attempts at Surrealist automatism; but notice he is fully engaging his imagination and creativity to fashion these early Surrealist images. However, in his post-1925 poetic imagery, the playful mechanical nature of the Exquisite Corpse Game inexorably freed him from such individual personal aesthetic considerations.  For example by 1928, when he turns to prose in order to describe a panging adulterous “love-at-first-sight” fascination with a somnambulant young woman slowly ambling along a Paris street identified (in art history) as Leona Camile Ghislaine Delacort (1902-1941) known to the world as Nadja (aka “Nadie” meaning “No one”), which he pursued for only 10 days, and then proclaimed in prose, “You will never fully comprehend that true love is the heart of a heartless flower.”  Thus, the entire French bouquet depicted above his head is a florid halo heralding Breton’s Surrealist theory of imagery, which derives from Pierre Reverdy’s Theory of Imagery (1918): “A true image is a juxtaposition of two more or less distant (or remote) realities. And, thus, a true image is a pure creation of the mind, because the more extreme the juxtaposition, the stronger and more memorable the image, and as a result ultra-discordant images deeply linger, forever haunting observers’ minds. Thereby, ultra-contradictory irrational images poetically convey greater emotional power.”

Head by :Jose Rodeiro

José Rodeiro is a Visual Artist’s Fellow in Painting of the National Endowment for the Arts; a Fulbright Fellow (completing his Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Central America (UCA), Managua, Nicaragua); a Fellow of the Institute for International Education (New York City, New York) and a Cintas Fellow in painting. He received his M.F.A from Pratt Institute, NY and his Ph.D. from Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts, his BA in painting hails from the University of Tampa, Florida. He has lived and worked in Spain, Central America, and Latin America. His exhibitions include: Miami-Dade Museum of Art & Design, Miami, Florida; The Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, New Jersey; Union City Museum, Union City, NJ; The Museum of Fine Arts, Washington County, Hagerstown, Maryland; Mason Gross Gallery, Rutgers University, NJ; Wilmer Jennings Gallery, Kenkelaba Gallery (the New York State Arts Council Gallery in Manhattan) NYC, NY; Florida International University’s Frost Museum (Miami, FL), The Korea Gallery (NYC, NY), Newark Museum; NJPAC; Galleries of Contemporary Art (GoCA), University of Colorado, Colorado Springs,  Rutgers University’s UMDNJ’s Robert Wood Johnson Gallery, New Jersey; Joyce Gordon Gallery, Oakland, California; Perth Amboy Gallery (Center for the Arts), New Jersey; El Museo de la Historia de Ponce (“MoHP”), Ponce, Puerto Rico; several La Ruche Art Consortium exhibitions, Union City, NJ; PCCC Broadway/LRC Gallery (Paterson, NJ), 14 Maple Gallery (Morris County Arts Council/Geraldine Dodge Foundation), Morristown, NJ; Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery (College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ), Qbava Gallery (Union City, NJ) and other venues. Throughout the Tampa Bay Area, he shows with Bella Unica Art Gallery, St. Petersburg, FL.  In October 2009, Rodeiro lectured on his painting “9/11” at The Tribute WTC Visitor Center (at Ground Zero, New York City, NY). In fall 2019, at Morean Art Center, St. Petersburg (FL), he gave an “Artist Talk” on Latinx Art.

Dr. Rodeiro is an alumnus of Jesuit High School of Tampa.  And, has lectured as a Visiting Professor, Department of Visual Poetics, UNESP (Sao Paulo University, Bauru), Brazil, fall 2011, and as a Visiting Professor, Art Department, UNESP (Sao Paulo University), Sao Paulo, Brazil, fall 2011.  And, he worked in Barcelona, Spain, from 1985-1986, during his Visual Artist Fellowship in Painting from the National Endowment for the Arts, [(Washington, DC)]. He is a former-Professor of Studio Art and Art History at New Jersey City University (Jersey City, New Jersey); as well as within the University of Maryland System’s Frostburg campus, along with teaching art history within Pratt Institute’s Graduate Program, and color-theory courses for Professor Salvatore Tagliarino within the Design Department, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, NYC, NY. 

error: Content is protected !!