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Mutants of the earth

Paul-Émile Borduas introduced Riopelle and his artist friends to André Breton’s surrealist movement and its principles of avoiding imitation and letting go of preconceived notions. Games were one of the ways surrealist artists came up with new ideas. One such game, of their own invention, was called exquisite corpse: a game that combines drawing and writing. As we well know, Jean Paul loved nature and animals. There is a long list of animals that can be found in his body of work.

Take a look at the Riopelle Bestiary (link to come), which lists all of the animals found in Riopelle’s works. Choose an animal from among those in the bestiary and keep it secret for now.

In order to pay homage to Jean Paul’s connection to the surrealist movement, here’s an invitation to create an exquisite corpse that looks like a mutant: part animal, part plant and part human.

Activité 1 : Instructions for playing the game online

  1. Split into teams of 3 players; Note down that each section corresponds to a different part: 1) ANIMAL, 2) PLANT, 3) HUMAN;
    1. Section 1, top: head of an animal;
    2. Section 2, middle: elements from a plant or tree;
    3. Section 3, bottom: a human’s legs, bare or dressed, arms, hair, etc.;
  2. Before you start the game, remind the players to complete their drawings in secret;
  3. The first player begins by drawing the head of an animal in the first section. It should include different details, like horns, antennas, eyes, a muzzle, etc. The neck must correspond with the two little lines at the bottom of this section;
  4. Select the second section;
  5. Pass the drawing interface to the second player;
  6. The second player starts their drawing from the two little lines at the top of this section. They should draw elements from a plant to create the body (leaves, branches, flowers, stems, trunk, etc.);
  7. Select the third section;
  8. Pass the drawing interface to the third player;
  9. The third player starts their drawing from the four little lines at the top of this section. They should draw parts of a human to create the bottom of the body (legs, arms, hair, etc.);
  10. Download the drawing;
  11. Display the drawings in the classroom;
  12. If you wish, share your creations through the RIO Gallery.

Activité 2 : Instructions for playing the game on paper

  1. Split into teams of 3 players;
  2. Distribute one sheet of paper to each team;
  3. Fold the paper into three equal sections;
  4. Each third of the paper, vertically, will be used for a different part of the drawing: 1) ANIMAL, 2) PLANT, 3) HUMAN;
    1. Section 1, top: head of an animal;
    2. Section 2, middle: elements from a plant or tree;
    3. Section 3, bottom: a human’s legs, bare or dressed, arms, hair, etc.;
  5. Before you start the game, remind the players to complete their drawings in secret;
  6. The first player begins by drawing the head of an animal in the top section. It should include different details, like horns, antennas, eyes, a muzzle, etc.;
  7. After completing their drawing, the first player should place small marks to show the second player where to start their drawing in the middle section;
  8. Fold the paper to hide the drawing at the top;
  9. Pass the paper to the second player;
  10. The second player will draw elements from a plant to create the body (leaves, branches, flowers, stems, trunk, etc.);
  11. After completing their drawing, they should place small marks to show the third player where to start their drawing in the bottom section;
  12. Fold the paper to hide the drawing in the middle;
  13. Pass the paper to the third player;
  14. The third player starts their drawing from the four little lines at the top of this section;
  15. They should draw parts of a human to create the bottom of the body (legs, arms, hair, etc.);
  16. After completing the final section, the third player can unfold the paper to reveal the final result;
  17. Display the drawings in the classroom;
  18. If you wish, share your creations through the RIO Gallery.