Eggshibition: A Celebration Of Eggs And Their Historic Symbolism

Eggshibition: A Celebration Of Eggs And Their Historic Symbolism

Eggshibition: A Celebration Of Eggs And Their Historic Symbolism

Published March 14, 2018

Alice Demurtas
Main photo by
Courtesy of Rán Flygenring

“I’ve always thought of it as being normcore, even tacky, but the more I thought about it the more I appreciated its symbolic charge.” The voice of Icelandic artist Rán Flygenring is loud and clear through the phone as she explains the idea behind ‘Eggshibition,’ a collective exposition of art and food revolving around eggs.

A celebration of forms

When Rán began designing the illustrations for a book on Icelandic birds written by musician and writer Hjörleifur Hjartarson, she had no idea her pictures would kick off a conversation that would later lead to an art exhibit. “Áslaug Snorradóttir, who is a photographer and a food designer, saw the egg spread I drew at the end of the book and she found it inspiring,” Rán explains.

“Eggshibition was thus born—a 360° look at the history and symbolism of eggs as well as a celebration of its fascinating forms.”

‘Eggshibition’ was thus born—a 360° look at the history and symbolism of eggs as well as a celebration of its fascinating forms. Playing around with the illustrations of birds found in the house of 19th century scientist and artist Benedikt Gröndal, Rán put together a collection of new and old drawings on eggs that will be shown in Gröndalshús between the 15th and 18th of March.

The versatility of eggs and their strangely appealing shapes will also be celebrated through a series of eggs-otic ceramics, egg paraphernalia, an egg library with various novels and books about the subject put together by publisher Angústura and even a lecture by Hjörleifur Hjartarson on the cultural significance of eggs. Last but not least, the Omnom Chocolate Factory will be offering samples of tasty chocolate eggs to satisfy the palate.

An eggsiting eggshibition

With so many cultural variables to play with and a fascinatingly quasi-symmetrical shape, eggs became an endlessly playful subject to work around for Rán and the other designers. However, the singular shape of the egg wasn’t the only aspect of the subject that fascinated the team. Eggs hold more meaning than one would expect—and they’ve done so since the beginning of time. In Greek mythology, the golden primordial being Phanes hatched from a cosmic egg that was the source of the universe. In Hinduism, the idea of an egg is used to explain the world: the shell makes up the heavens and the yolk is the earth. Eggs were also used for centuries in the Western world during rituals aimed at encouraging fertility.

“They’re the origin of everything. They are food and they are home.”

“It can seem such a random thing to think of, something you look past at the supermarket, but as we say in Icelandic ‘all birds come from eggs.’ They’re the origin of everything,” Rán explains. “They’re a symbol of birth, life and resurrection. They are food and they are home, but there are also so many instances of eggs in the art and pop culture that one never thinks about, like the Fabergé eggs, the Kinder eggs, the surprise Easter eggs or the golden egg.”

It’s no wonder that artists and designers have found a plethora of symbols to play with for this exhibition: whether you’re interested in learning more about this primordial object or the creative possibilities it holds, this exhibit is bound to be an eggs-iting one for sure.

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