For his third solo show at New York City's Kate Werble Gallery, artist Christopher Chiappa presents a new body of work in its entirety, a series of 7,000 handmade fried egg sculptures exhibited as a growing infestation that invades its surroundings. This exhibition is the result of five years of filling his own studio with these fried eggs.
Apparently, they surfaced initially as drawings and then as actual fried eggs, draped casually over studio surfaces with candid photos snapped. The eggs multiplied and mutated, as he eventually adopted their form for hyperrealistic sculptures constructed through a carefully calibrated process of casting, pouring, sanding and painting plaster.
As he refined his method, they evolved into uncannily illusionistic “sunny side up” versions of their former selves. They aggregate in his studio in various stages of completion along a series of folding tables, their plaster bases gaining yolks, contours, lightly toasted edges, and a glossy sheen as they graduate from one station to the next. Finished eggs rest – yolks shining expectantly, like so many eyes – on racks stretching from floor to ceiling, bakery-style, as their ranks methodically approach the decided goal of 7,000.
At the Gallery, the eggs are exhibited creeping down the walls and spreading across the floors. This demands your immediate attention and leaves you wondering is it a friendly crowd, a humorous displacement of the everyday? Or, is it an infestation – an angry mob, mould, or cancer, multiplying? As the show information reads: "The robust symbolic function of the egg adds further complication. Eggs are traditionally coded positively, embodying perfection, purity, resurrection, and unbounded potential. The fried egg, on the other hand, occupies a more dubious position. It is broken, defunct, dead, more suburban than divine, and suggestive of the materiality of sex rather than the purity of rebirth. It is, as the notorious PSA announcement tells us, 'your brain on drugs' – the domain of the slacker and a symbolic loss of potential, but also the pleasure that might be found therein. Chiappa’s fried eggs operate squarely within the uncomfortable intersection of these two symbolic legacies, mining the darkly humorous vein where perfection and failure meet."
On display until 9th January 2016. More details at www.katewerblegallery.com.