Materials: Royal Limoges porcelain fossil cast of elephant bird egg, enamel drawings. Unique work
Dimensions: 35 x 25 x 25cm
Exhibition history: 2012 Domaine de Chamarande, France; 2011 Motive Gallery Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta
Bones are memento mori, reminders of death, but the egg is birth, the start of life. Lucy + Jorge Orta cast this porcelain replica from a specimens in the Natural History Museum palaeontology collection, the egg from the elephant bird Aepyornis. The motifs enamelled onto the surface are taken from drawings conducted by the artists during their expedition to the Peruvian Amazon in 2009. The imaginary flowers, butterflies and insects point to the cycle of life, fragile specimens so miniscule to go unnoticed, or that simply disappear even before being discovered. There is an underlying melancholy of the end of time, and the hot breath of extinction. The porcelain fragment of life is tender and precious, recording the beauty and wealth of our planet, past and present. The act of drawing on the past can be seen as the activity of life itself.