Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Glorious Rebirth

Oscar Wilde’s statement “an egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different”, obviously made within a particular context, could well be used in connection with Franc Grom’s creative artworks.

Eggs, in general, have been regarded as a symbol of fertility and rebirth throughout the times by many cultures. In fact, the practice of decorating eggshells is ancient and it goes back to pre-Christian times, having later been adopted by the Christian Church as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. They convey the message of a new beginning, the very spark of creation.

As a result of that, they have been introduced as a gift associated to Easter and have become a widespread feature connected to festivities and celebrations held at that time of the year. It was not in vain that the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II commissioned the famous jewellery creator Fabergé the exquisite and priceless eggs they offered as Easter gifts to their wives and mothers.

Far from the expensive extravagance of the celebrated Fabergé eggs, Franc Grom, a Slovenian artist living in the small village of Stara Vrhnika, near Ljubljana, creates astonishingly beautiful and intricate egg sculptures from eggshells that would naturally be thrown everyday into the rubbish.

Inspired in the Slovenian tradition of painting eggs or lightly scratching delicate designs into the surface of previously coloured eggs, Grom came across a completely innovative technique of his own creation. Making good use of his expertise as a former electrician now retired, Grom’s art pieces are crafted by means of thousands of holes drilled into the eggshells so as to produce extremely exquisite lacelike and delicate sculptures, each of them unique and unrepeatable, thereby somehow making sense of Oscar Wilde’s statement.

The elaborate process of carving eggs implies a first stage, consisting of poking the two first holes at the top and at the bottom of the shell to blow out all the liquid inside. By means of great patience, talent and precision, Grom then proceeds with a tiny electric drill puncturing intricate patterns which, once completed, unfold in their splendorous perfection to the delight of our eyes.

Franc Grom’s egg artwork, which has been on exhibition in Slovenia, India, Japan and the United States among other countries, actually does justice to the idea of resurrection underlying the tradition of Easter eggs. In fact, through his talent and creativity, he metamorphoses something regarded as quite ordinary and disposable into genuine masterpieces which, reminding us of the mythic Phoenix, both embody and celebrate a truly glorious rebirth.

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