Cadavre Exquis

Cadavre Exquis still

Medium: Video. Length: 3min10. Year: 2016

A provocative and visceral collage, Cadavre Exquis is named after a surrealist parlor game, that sees participants create drawings and collages collaboratively, passing on the drawing for the next participant to complete. A game that required the act of secrecy, where the next participant cannot see the previous drawing, was intended to unearth and free the unconscious.

Much like the game, Cadavre unearths the surrealistic elements of a large-scale fish market in the heart of Mumbai, at Sassoon Docks; indicting the aestheticization of the ‘dead things in the water’ (or formaldehyde, as the case may be) as an object without a purpose. The inclusion of the men who labor to clean, strip, skin and sort these fish, suggests a context that even the superb surreal quality of decaying and fresh fish cannot obfuscate; labor and its conditions, and commodification’s mute victims come together in Cadavre Exquis in a mellowed palette no less difficult than its reality.

Renuka Sawhney, New York 2016

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