Imagine you take the left side from graphic 1 and right side from the graphic 2, place them that the left and right side are connected horizontally, then you take the sides left from graphic 1 and 2 and connect those the same way and that results in 2 pairs of connected sides forming two new graphics representing something else than they did when connected with their previous side. Is there a term for these kind of graphics? It doesn't strictly have to be left and right sides, it can be top and bottom. The two sides also don't have to be the same size or shape, as long as the connecting side "fits" with the other one.

  • 1
    Seems possibly more like a question for Graphic Design I think, or at least more likely to get a definitive answer.
    – Joanne C
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 14:35
  • I will try there, thank you. But the graphic could be a painting or a carving.
    – Leo Ervin
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:22
  • @LeoErvin It's mostly just the use of the word graphic that is misleading as that usually pertains to digital arts which is off topic here. You are correct that this could be used in other forms besides that like carving and sculptures. Might be harder to see in paintings but it could still work. If you managed to find a picture of what you mean that might help but i suspect you are asking because you cant. FYI please don't double post into another SE. This question could be fine her.e
    – Matt
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:29
  • Yeah I cant find anything, I think because I don't know what to search for, that's why I posted here. Anything remotely similar to what I have in mind might be the butterfly locket from the movie The Illusionist.
    – Leo Ervin
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:48
  • Reminds me of tessellations.... particularly as they relate to the work of MC Escher.
    – Catija
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:51

2 Answers 2


The surrealist technique of combining sections of different images in order to create a unique composition is referred to as "Exquisite Corpse" or "Cadavre Exquis" (Ambrose & Harris, 2011). By aligning the sections creatively or along a similar outline, one can achieve very unexpected results, as in the following example

enter image description here

In these cup designs by Chloe Lee Carson, sections of different illustrations have been combined to create unique characters. Note that despite the name of this technique, Cadavre Exquis is not limited to animal or human imagery. In fact, it began as a word game where sentences were constructed in a similar unxexpected fashion. According to the Tate website, the technique's name is derived from one of the first games that resulted in: ‘Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau’ (‘The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine’).

Reference: Harris, P. & Ambrose G. (2011), Basics Design 02 - Layout, AVA Publishing

  • While the majority of images I could find have two features which aren't necessary to fit my idea, this still seems to be what I was looking for. Those features being: 1) human or animal sections being the "pieces" I was desribing, not something else like scenery, 2) being 3 pieces and vertical to each other.
    – Leo Ervin
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 14:10
  • Hi @LeoErvin . Despite the use of the word "corpse", this technique isn't restricted to animals or humans (or even images). I just felt this example was easier to understand. Cadavre Exquis actually began as a word game. See more here
    – johnp
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 16:02
  • The "Exquisite Corpse" is a drawing formed by one artist drawing a section then (often) obscuring it by folding and passing the work to another artist who contributes the next section and so on, using only the hints of the drawing revealed at the edge of the folds to provide continuity. It can be done without the folds but the collaborative nature of the process is key.
    – rebusB
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 19:02

I think what you are describing is known as a "tessellating pattern".

Most famous practitioner of this art, in my opinion, was the Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher.

I'm not sure if I can post an image here of Escher's work as it's copyright protected by the Escher foundation.

An example of Escher's work showing the tessellating pattern in action can be seen in the piece titled Regular Division of the Plane III, 1957

Escher's work showing the tessellating pattern.

 Escher's work showing the tessellating pattern

To learn more about M.C. Escher then check out the M.C. Escher Foundation and The M.C. Escher Company.

  • No reason you can't post an example picture. Or link directly to the official website
    – user24
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 22:49
  • Not sure about the use of an image showing an example of Escher's work.. Even under the "fair use" policy its a tricky thing to know when its okay and when its not. Wikipedia gives a list of conditions that need to be met to be considered fair use but its hard to tell exactly when the conditions are met and when they are not. The Escher foundation has a form they want filled out if your want permission to use any of Escher's works. Licensing included for profit and not for profit (such as blog posts or even general discussion) mcescher.com/licensing. Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 23:38
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    A vital part of the definition of tessellation is that it fills a space. I don't think it fits the question as I understand it.
    – Martha
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 0:40

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