9 EGGS - THE COLLECTION
People have been obsessed with the humble egg for millennia. Mythologies endowed the egg with symbolism, from the birth of the cosmos to fertility and luck. Decorated eggs over 55,000 years old have been discovered in Africa, making them one of the oldest artworks created by humans.
Peter Carl Fabergé became the master of the egg as the premier goldsmith to the Imperial Russian Court. He raised the art of decorated eggs to hitherto unimagined heights. In service to the Tsars, he created Easter Eggs from the most precious materials in the world, embellishing them with thousands of sparkling jewels. He often included a miniature surprise inside his creations, which pushed the limits of the goldsmith and lapidary arts.
Leaving the Easter Eggs to Fabergé, I began exploring my own artistic interpretation of the egg. What started as a quarantine project became a series of nine sculptures based on the same simple ovoid shape.
Today there are just a handful of rarified events where people have come together to let their imaginations run wild. Spectacles where creativity and wonder have been poured into creating sensory extravaganzas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala, the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympiads, and the Sambadrome during Carnival-Rio de Janeiro are beautiful examples.
These spectacles of living, moving art rendered in orgies of color and light are rarely seen outside the CGI fantasies in Hollywood movies. This is how high I set the bar as I strove to reach equally amazing heights with this collection.
Creating objects with such intricate detail required equally elaborate planning. Initially, I mentally built up each design, adding layer upon layer of detail until I had a clear vision of each sculpture in three dimensions. Then, I broke down each piece into many tiny and even tinier elements. Finally, I alternated between curating materials and manufacturing the components for each eggy puzzle.
Re-purposing, de-constructing, and re-creating the discarded into something new is intrinsic to each sculpture. I collected components that could be bent to my purpose, utilizing select bits of jewelry, enamel, brass, marble, semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystals, and paste gems. Choosing elements that displayed hints of quality and craftsmanship and working with them to reveal their potential kept me riveted to my workbench and enthralled with the creative process.
Days and weeks turned to months as each sculpture gained a personality and assumed a role in its creation. My plans would inevitably unravel when the piece seemed to resist some of my ideas and suggest new paths to follow. Each egg became a collaboration between the artist and the artifact as I dialed into what the object needed rather than what I had planned for it.
With the completion of each sculpture, I would feel a silent but resounding crescendo when our bond was finally severed.
Each egg, forged by time and toil, standing alone, bathed in its own unique shimmering glow.
BEN A STARKS, 2022