A game of exquisite cadaver / Un jeu du cadavre exquis
Part of the Elonkierre group exhibition
Gras & Heikinheimo
Salt stone, paper
Various dimensions
In this exhibition, Heikinheimo and Gras illustrate elements of the life of a fictional character called l'exquisite, through various objects sculpted and formed out of salt, a crystalline mineral essential for the empowerment of life in general.
The work is based on the ideology of the Cadavre Exquis, a game adopted and played by artists of the 1920's Surrealist movement as a technique to generate collaborative compositions. In the game, typically played with a folder paper medium, each player adds to a composition in order, being allowed to see only the end of the previous contribution. Based on the ensemble of short stories taking place around the research farm of the University of Helsinki, in Viikki, Heikinheimo and Gras construct a series of salt-sculptures provided by each others writings.
Loyal to the original format, the character of this work is
folded into four parts, namely the head, torso, legs and feet. L’EQUISITE questions the laborious nature and composition of the narrative.
Each sculpture is inspired by the results of the game; four short stories taking place around the farm.


As I enter, I can see my own breath as it moves with the cold dew through the thick, red-grey hairs
that nestle under my nose. My breath smells worse than the sulphite fumes of hell as it mixes with
the rising fumes produced by the ladies from downstairs.
I walk further into the room. From the height, a dozen metres away, a birdsong fills my ears. It
seems the birds are proliferating at a fast pace these days, as their singing sounds louder by the
day. It doesn't even sound friendly anymore. No, I find it more akin to an organ playing its
subjects, in the way it emphasises the most important part of the story - which is always that part
that tells everyone what to do and how to behave. It's funny how, with the dim light through the
gaps in the wooden walls, this place feels almost sacred. But to tell you the truth, this farm, this
house, this cathedral... it stands on a foundation of dirt. And with it, so do I.
Anyway. I take off my hat and look at what has been left behind today.
a ton of wheat
a fork
more milk, more wheat
What a treat... Provided to provide.
And so, I settle myself down on a wooden crate, and I eat and I drink and I eat some more.
I hold back a thought.
Then I decide I should let the wind speak louder this time.


What am I doing in here?
What the hell am I doing in here?
Now I have all these green bottles around me.
I never saw anyone here before
Am I hiding something or what is this
I’m all by myself, all to myself
I think I know why
I took down the cage where those birds where
I have no tools of my own
I have no horse only a bike, somewhere
All these cows below the floor tho
I have no friends here
And now the birds are flying again
And what about all those magazines
Why are they doing that. Like that.
someone brought those cows here?
What am I doing in there?
With that hole on the floor, right there
What am I doing here
What are they doing there, beneath the floor
They tell me one thing
And I respond
The cows shouldn’t be so chubby, so fat
What am I doing in here
Is that shit. So much shit
What's that sound from under the floor?
I’m looking at one of them
All these hardwood floor here

All these tools here
What are all these tools here for
Has someone made love here
I guess someone should made love here
And I keep seeing a light coming from a bird nest up there. What are they nesting?
I have a hammer, now I have a saw
There is a Smith&Wesson
It’s written Governor on it with a bag a Lapua bullets
What is this smell. And that bright light coming from those nests?
There is enough wheat for everyone here
Now they are all looking me to the eyes
What am I doing here?
What could I be doing in here?
I heard that someone tried to burn this place
There is an other bag next to those bullets
But what is this huge fork made for
Some type of powder, white powder
I heard that they all used to study here
Maybe even the ones below me, looking me still in my eyes
But am I doing something in here
There must be something
Why everything is getting bigger
Or am I getting smaller
The smell of the floor is really interesting
I bet I could spend my entire life here
I heard the cows are moving now
No one is watching over me anymore
A shovel, right there
That light is still up there
And what is this then?
What am I doing in here.
With all these unknown tools
What could I possibly do in here?
There is a book over there. It has a picture of an beautiful, shiny vermin on its cover.
What is this boxes of matches
And this picture of beautiful person with a fur
The floor still smells so intense
I guess it must be intense below this floor
This book tho, “Metamorphosis”
What am I doing here
What is this book then
“One morning, as I was waking up from anxious dreams, I discovered that in bed I had been
changed into a monstrous vermin. I laid my armour-hard back and saw, as I lifted my head up a
little, my brown, arched abdomen divided up into rigid bow-like sections. From this height the
blanket, just about ready to slide off completely, could hardly stay in place. My numerous legs,
pitifully thin in comparison to the rest of my circumference, flickered helplessly before my eyes.”

Well, that is quite an odd way to wake up, I thought by myself. I honestly do not know what is
worse, the amount of dreams or reality. Either way, I was a little disgusted by myself. Not
necessarily by the current state of my physical body, as I encountered creatures like this in the
farm on daily basis. No, it was my subconscious feeling sick for being able to make up such
dreams, and manifest them seemingly, for the piece of pest that I am.
Then I felt the urge to control a first helpless limb. And as I did, all the loose parts the leg was
made up of began to shake uncontrollably. It sounded similar to seeds moving in their pods.

have dried wildflowers dangling upside down on a string. When you touch them, they sound just
like that. I stuck all my legs in the air and at the same time all six of them started shaking. A
beautiful seed orchestra. Now, if I manage to operate these thin things, working at the barn might
become slightly more bearable. I could sing a song as my movements were accompanied by the
rhythms my legs produced.
I moved the first two legs to the side, so they were placed beside my body on the mattress.
Pushing myself upwards, a jolt of pain shot through the muscle tissue. While pushing through, I
was now on all legs, still shaking, doing clumsy exercises, truly wishing I were a gymrat. As I
pushed on, I was now on all legs, still shaking, doing clumsy exercises, really wishing I was a gym
rat. Rhythm was still way off, but at least I could get up today. I moved my joints, limbs followed at
ninety-degree angles, hoping that the thin spikes called legs did not end up in one of the many
holes in the wooden floorboards. But of course, by the time I reached my destination, one former
foot managed to do exactly that. I was trying to free myself by using my other legs as a forklift,
jacking and creaking like a helpless, lost soul, backed by the gentle rattling of my fragmented
legs. Just as seeds in their pods. I was exhausted before the day even dawned.

Now I know what I’m doing here
I found it, it was here
So strange. Why was I so worried
I know why I’m here
I hope that this is not the beginning of the end
Perhaps the end of the beginning.
Those nests, the tools on the floor
The Vermin
The shiny cockroach
The incarnation of the Vermin
Still this intense smell everywhere
I know know what I came here for
It was all written there
In that book
However, some type of end it is
A beginning of a new end
I wish I could use those tools. And that violin.
I wish I could read more
I have no idea where to go from here
Maybe I can stay here
Maybe I don’t need to decide
Maybe I will stay here
I will stay here