Surrealist Collage in Text and Image: Dissecting the Exquisite Corpse by Elza Adamowicz. (1998). Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom. ISBN 9-780-521-59204-8
If I were to pick one word for the surrealists before reading Elza Adamowicz's book, Surrealist Collage in Text and Image: Dissecting the Exquisite Corpse, I might have picked 'petulant': always pushing boundaries, causing disruptions. But, petulance implies a childish sulkiness or bad-temperament, and I am not so sure 'petulance' describes their work as neatly as I once thought it did. Though the whole point of surrealism was, at its heart, to push boundaries and cause disruption to the status quo, the point was to keep things (objects, ideas, statues, identities) from (literally or figuratively) stagnating, rotting, and otherwise fading into oblivion.
I admit up front that this book was slow going for me. It is an academic book, different from some of the quilting and collage books written for a more general audience I reviewed in previous posts. And more importantly, Surrealist Collage in Text and Image is written partly in French, which I do not read, speak or write. Google translate did a fair job helping me out, but I am sure some of the author's points were, quite literally, lost in translation. However, I felt it was well-worth spending time with this book to read the artists' quotes (written in their own language) and to get a deeper understanding of the philosophy behind surrealism. Adamowicz posits that collage for these artists and poets was more about process than final product. Their search for the merveilleux is/was a process with infinite possibilities and an impossible end. And, with detailed accounts, careful explanations and dissections of artwork and poems from key players of the time, including Louis Aragon, Andre Breton and Max Ernst, I believe I understand what Adamowicz means.