Cadavre exquis (exquisite corpse) is a collaborative drawing approach first used by surrealist artists to create bizarre and intuitive drawings.
Cadavre exquis is similar to the old parlour game consequences – in which players write in turn on a sheet of paper, fold to conceal what they have written, and pass it on to the next player – but adapted so that parts of the body are drawn instead.
It was invented in 1925 in Paris by the surrealists Yves Tanguy, Jacques Prévert, André Breton and Marcel Duchamp. The name ‘cadavre exquis’ was derived from a phrase that resulted when they first played the game, ‘le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau’ (‘the exquisite corpse will drink the new wine’).
Cadavre exquis as a drawing approach has been used by other artists since the surrealists notably the YBA artists Jake and Dinos Chapman.