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Collection > David Altmejd >

The Egg

2006

  • Medium

    Steel, wood, mirror, Plexiglass, Styrofoam, magic sculpt, acrylic paint, gray squirrels, barn owl, blue tit, synthetic pine branches, pine cones, acorns, synthetic flowers, minerals (quartz, sulfur, amethyst, flourite, vanvdinite, hematite), butt plugs, l

  • Dimensions

    87 1/4 x 71 x 50 in. (244.5 x 180.3 x 127 cm)

  • Accession number

    2009.1

  • Object label

    David Altmejd’s The Egg presents a fantastical, even grotesque, scene in which a crystal-sprouting, decomposing carcass has become a habitat for squirrels. The steel cage of the dioramalike structure contains an intricate array of both natural and artificial materials: real pine cones, crystals, and taxidermied animals alongside synthetic flowers, mirrors, gold chains, glitter, and leather bondage wear. This mix of materials is paralleled by a variety of art-historical references: the decaying figure calls up a gisant, a representation of a deceased person lying on their tomb; the flowers and pine tree branches evoke the vanitas theme of still-life paintings, meant to be a reminder of the transience of life; and the display vitrine suggests a reliquary, the container used to hold holy objects, often body parts belonging to saints.