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Robert Desnos and the Cerebral Pleasure of Art

University of Haute-Alsace

Robert Desnos’s graphic works, characterised by the interpenetration of polysemous linguistic elements with random figurative elements, raise questions about the fixing of the flowing chain of meanings. This study is primarily concerned with the idea of representation of images as “generation of systems” – theorised by Barthes –, and with the concept of “open work” by Eco and “unlimited semiosis” by Peirce. This paper is divided into two parts: the first one is a necessary introduction to the semiotic theories of art and inherent techniques of surrealism we’ll employ pragmatically in the second section, which is more practical. It is in fact the application of theory to a drawing by Robert Desnos (La ville aux rues sans noms du cirque cerebral), which seemed to respond to the characteristics of the “cerebral pleasure” of “generative interpretation”.

Robert Desnos, Surrealism, open work, generative interpretation, unlimited semiosis


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