The Wine Glass Chess Set (replica)

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Andre Breton and Nicolas Calas: The Wine Glass Chess Set

There is no inventory record of this unique work. The Wine Glass Chess Set and Board was described in contemporary reviews that appeared in both Art Digest and Newsweek, though no photographs of it have been located. Given that Breton considered the purpose of the Surrealist enterprise to be creative experimentation and discovery rather than the production of finished objects for sale, it is likely that this contribution was put together specifically for the occasion of the exhibition, then destroyed.

The Newsweek reviewer descrived the Breton-Calas effort as Cockeyed Chess:

On the prankster side, though, is the concoction of the surrealist writers Nicolas Calas and Andre Breton (whose manifesto of 1924 launched the official surrealist movement). These two think chess a useless foolish game - and narcissistic besides. Their board is made up of mirrors so that the "narcissistic" players can see themselves, and the chessmen are ordinary drinking glasses of various sizes and shapes, the "blacks" filled with red wine, the "whites" with white wine. When a player captures a piece he "must drink the symbolic blood of the victim." Breton and Calas have also hung a proclamation on chess called "Profanation" as what they sum up: "The game should be changed, not the pieces."

This description was taken from; List, Larry. The Imagery of Chess Revisited. New York: George Braziller, Publishers, 2006, Print


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