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Boîte Alerte. Missives Lascives. Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme. 1959-1960

Duchamp, Marcel et al

Paris. Daniel Cordier. 1959
A superb example of the scarce Surrealist catalogue in the form of a post box: 'Boîte Alerte'.

From the edition limited to 250 copies, with this one of 200 from the édition de luxe with the box stamp-numbered to the interior of the lid, the catalogue stamp-numbered to the justification and the original graphics each signed and numbered from the edition of 200; 20 copies de grand luxe numbered in Roman numerals were also issued together with 30 hors commerce examples.

Surrealist box / catalogue designed by Marcel Duchamp and Andre Breton for the 1959 'Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme' organised at the Galerie Cordier (15 December 1959 -29 February 1960).The exhibition, 'EROS' (formed from 'Exposition inteRnatiOnale du Surrealisme'), focused on erotic love and the sexualised female, with the intention to shock, provoke and liberate the imagination of its audience.

The box, whose title ('box on alert') makes a pun on 'boîte à lettres', contains envelopes with letters, pictures and booklets by the artists and writers involved in the exhibition. Through the range of references provided by a combination of text and image, 'Boîte Alerte'provides a rich source for the interests and ambitions of the surrrealist movement.

The documents include the following:

- 9 'Missives Lascives':'The Corridor' by Robert Benayoun (suggestive photographic booklet), Micheline Bounoure's original symmetrical compositions, Alain Joubert's 'La Perle Fine', Joyce Mansour's 'La Pointe', Octavia Paz's pseudo-medical account of Edelmira B., André Pieyre de Mandiargues' 'La Marée', Mimi Parent's black 'HAUT' stocking, and envelope with anonymous text 'Lettres d'un Sadique.'

- Telegram from Marcel Duchamp.

- Seven-inch double-sided vinyl record with readings of two surrealist poems, ‘L’Ivresse Religieuse’ (Religious Intoxication) by Joyce Mansour and ‘La Brebis Galante’ (The Gallant Ewe) by Benjamin Péret.

- 4 original lithographs, each signed and numbered in pencil, by Joan Miró, Max Walter, Svanberg, and Toyen, together with a signed etching by Marechal.

- 6 post cards reproducing Hans Bellmer’s 'La Poupée' (1933-7), Salvador Dalí’s 'Guillaume Tel' (1930), Arshile Gorky’s 'The Orator' (1947), Joan Miró’s 'Le Piège' (1924), Max Walter Svanberg’s 'Bouquet de Lumière et de Crépuscules' (1958) and Clovis Trouille’s 'Le Palais des Merveilles' (1949).

The catalogue of the exhibition at the Daniel Cordier Gallery directed by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp is also included and features texts by Breton, Bellmer, Man Ray, Péret, Arp, Paz, Breton, Benoit, Mansour, Lebel, Carrington, and others.
Various formats. Various sizes. Envelopes with imitation stamps, containing letters, illustrations and booklets by a range of artists and a folder containing original graphics and exhibition catalogue. Contents loose as issued in original green card box in the form of a postbox designed by Marcel Duchamp (285 x 180 mm), with removable lid and letterbox opening, printed title 'Boîte Alerte' in white to front, additional white label with 'Missives Lascives' in red and 'Exposition international du Surréalisme' (with the initial E R O S in red) to left hand side of box.

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