Cône de Cadavre Exquis

Harmen Brethouwer with Young & Ayata

photo: Joris Lugtigheid

courtesy Hidde van Seggelen Gallery London

Material: 3D printed - Full color sandstone - Height 42cm
Year: 2016
Team: Kevin Pazik, Sina Ozbudun, Ryan Roark, Tyler Kvochick, Tyler Abell, Mariana Carvalho

The well-known surrealist parlor game of the cadavre exquis resonates through the production of art over the last 100 years. The lasting interest lies in the aesthetic shock that can result from distinctly different elements sharing the same space, forging new associations in the combination. Figures, concepts, materials that would naturally never be found together end up having strange disturbing relations. An important aspect of this technique is the necessity of the disjunctive joint. The exquisite corpse is not a new life fused into a seamless continuity. Its power is fleeting, momentary, always threatening to come apart literally at the seams.

Our interpretation of the cadavre exquis concept looks backwards and forward from these histories. A ‘Brethouwer cone’ was divided into four sections. For each section an ornamental motif was selected at random from Owen Jones’s The Grammar of Ornament. They are Egyptian, Chinese, Moresque, and Indian. These patterns became the starting point for the development of new motifs built as low reliefs into the surface of the cone. Each pattern was given to a different individual who designed a new articulation as a three-dimensional ornament. The object is digitally fabricated from a single sandstone powder material, but the interest here is in the ability of digital fabrication to allude to other materials through color, texture, and surface finish. The resulting work, Exquisite Corpse Cone, is a physical recombination and mash-up of the history of ornamentation, invigorating a lineage that lingers just below the surface in contemporary design culture. 

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