Mathew Cerletty, ‘Exquisite Corpse 60’, ca. 2011, Mana Contemporary


More than 180 internationally recognized visual artists, architects, designers and photographers participated in the Armitage Gone! Dance Exquisite Corpse Project, beginning in 2011. The artists created one hundred and thirty nine artworks to benefit Armitage Gone! Dance, an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company under the direction of renowned choreographer Karole Armitage. Using the 1920's surrealist parlor game "cadavre exquise," a drawing that combines words and/or images by multiple artists on one sheet of paper, the project celebrates the theme of chance encounters, surprise and radical juxtaposition. Each artist adds to the composition, in sequence, without seeing the contribution of the previous person. The chance juxtaposition of images and styles results in a work that is both unexpected and amusing. Each drawing is a combination of the work of three or four artists.

The Exquisite Corpse project is a way for a wide range of artists to express their support for Armitage’s work and also a way for her to acknowledge artists who have played such a large role in her career. The project also highlights the “performative” aspect of art-making by demonstrating that drawing, performance art, and dance all have in common spontaneity and an unpredictable nature. The evanescent quality of dance is mirrored in the surprising juxtapositions of the Exquisite Corpse.

Image rights: (Top-Bottom) Matthew Cerletty - Graphite; Matt Mullican - Pencil, India Ink; Mounir Fatmi - Color Photograph, Binder Rings

About Mathew Cerletty

Mathew Cerletty is a realist painter whose works depict a wide range of subjects, including figures, portraits, interiors, ice cream, linoleum, commercial logos, popular icons, and fabric. Though he paints representational images, Cerletty’s depictions focus on pattern, type, and texture in such a way that his paintings can appear abstract. There is a biographical element in Cerletty’s selection of his subjects; as the artist once explained: “I want to make pictures that maintain my interest.” Common themes connecting his disparate bodies of work include contemporary consumerism, art history, desire, and daily life. The cool, detached style and detailed realism of Cerletty’s depictions pay homage to Domenico Gnoli, Christopher Williams, Ed Ruscha, and Pop artists.

American, b. 1980

About Matt Mullican

Using his subconscious as material, Matt Mullican often creates his artworks before an audience while under hypnosis, resulting in a unique hybrid of performance art and drawing. Part schematic, part cosmological chart, Mullican’s ordered, symmetrical works belie an enormously ambitious artistic aim, to contain and make sense of the universe. Characterized by rough geometric patterns and the artist’s elongated, looping script, Mullican’s spontaneous diagrams and writings on walls and canvas offer free access to the artist’s psyche.

American, b. 1951, Santa Monica, California, based in New York, NY; Berlin, Germany

About Mounir Fatmi

Working in video, installation, drawing, painting, and sculpture, Mounir Fatmi examines human vulnerability. He constructs visual environments (comprising such objects as saw blades, stereo speakers, construction hard hats, and flags) and plays with language in a way that questions preconceptions of politics and religion and unearths injustices buried by history. In his 2009 work The Machinery, 30 aggressive-looking industrial saw blades are inscribed with elaborately drawn Islamic poems relaying a peaceful message. Using current events as content for projects, Fatmi investigates the origins of contemporary issues and crises.

Moroccan , b. 1970, Tangier, Morocco, based in Paris, France