Insulting a Priest

About 1929, Moreland and Jenkins are discussing the role of action in artistic creation. Moreland asks: “Is art action, an alternative to action, an enemy of action, or nothing whatever to do with action?”

Jenkins replies: “Ask the Surrealists. They are keen on action. Their magazine had a photo on the cover the other day with the caption: One of our contributors insulting a priest.” [TKO 79/

Cover photo La Révolution surréaliste, no. 8, 1 December 1926

Cover photo
La Révolution surréaliste, no. 8, 1 December
1926

The actual quote from La Révolution surréaliste, no. 8, 1 December 1926. is “Notre collaborateur Benjamin Péret injuriant un prêtre.” Péret (1899-1959), shown on the left side of the photo, was a poet, novelist, and, at the time, editor of the magazine ; he was active in the surrealist movement from its inception until his death. This photo is frequently cited as an example of surrealist aggressiveness. For example, Luis Buñuel claimed that it was this photo, with its appeal to his own anti-clericalism, that drew him to join the surrealists, three years before he presented his film Un Chien Andalou,  which he wrote with Salvador Dali. .

 

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