“As beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on an operating table.”
- Comte de Lautréaumont AKA Isidore Lucien Ducasse (1846 – 1870)
"Collage can be realized as the pure encounter between heterogeneous elements, attesting en bloc to the incompatibility of two worlds. The Surrealist encounter between the umbrella and the sewing-machine, for example, manifests - in contrast to the reality of ordinary everyday life but in accord with its objects - the absolute power of desire and dream." - Rancière
Ethan Beal-Brown wrote: This is a reference to the writing of Isidore Ducasse (1846-1870), a Uruguayan-born French poet who, under the pseudonym Comte de Lautréamont, explored many of the theoretical and aesthetic notions which served as precursors to Surrealism.
According to the University of Chicago Press, "It was in Les Chants de Maldoror [by Lautréamont] that André Breton [the founder of Surrealism] discovered the phrase that would come to represent the Surrealist doctrine of objective chance: “as beautiful as the random encounter between an umbrella and a sewing-machine upon a dissecting-table.” (p.263) You can take a look at the book at this link: Les Chants de Maldoror
Here are a few visualizations, most notably from Dali: