My short walk to work from Green Park tube is usually a time to take in the latest designer window display (as an aside, my current favourite are the completely mad, Rococo-inspired Miu Miu shoes) but this morning I was completely distracted by two large decorated eggs that I spotted as I walked the streets of Mayfair. It was a nicely surreal moment and one I imagine that will keep occurring for the next 40 days of Lent. This is because, from Pancake Day, 200 giant and uniquely crafted Easter eggs have been smuggled into a variety of locations for 'The Fabergè Big Egg Hunt'. The charity event will raise funds for Action for Children and Elephant Family and is tipped to smash the Guinness World Records for the most participants in an Easter egg hunt.
The eggs have been strategically placed throughout the capital, each designed by the world's leading artists, architects, designers and jewellers. Each egg therefore represents a unique moment to be discovered. Personally I am looking forward to seeing what the Chapman Brothers have contributed, especially in light of the knowledge that this event has enormous family appeal. I imagine the egg won't be directly borrowing Nazi imagery from their deeply satirical and nihilistic exhibition last summer. The high profile contemporary artists Marc Quinn, Polly Morgan, Rob and Nick Carter and Antony Micallef have all contributed their own egg, which are all destined to become much sought after artworks available to buy at auction after the hunt ends. The Carters have created their mesmorising work using neon, so we should be able to spot it easily enough.
What is particularly appealing about the hunt is the sheer size and scale of the undertaking and the fact that there is a cross pollination between artists and designers from different backgrounds. Fashion designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and couture maker Bruce Oldfield sit alongside the contemporary artists and architects rather brilliantly. Of course Fabergé have contributed an egg, no doubt it will be by far one of the most valuable in the set and probably not one I will stumble upon outdoors.
The cross-capital, trans-culture exhibition is also a competition; the public can download maps and clues regarding the locations of all 200 eggs and participants are in with winning a grand prize. What with the Gagosian Gallery's International Spot Challenge, art and prizes seem to be de rigueur at the moment. I wonder if the Russian socialite Valentine Uhovski feels like running around London after winning his special edition Damien Hirst print by visiting all eleven worldwide shows in just eight days. At least travelling from one side of London to the other presents no jet lag issues, though I doubt even Fabergé can do anything about possible traffic delays.
Sarah Fabergé, great granddaughter Peter Carl Fabergé released a statement: "Eggs have become synonymous with Fabergé and it is almost impossible to think of one without the other! The egg is symbolic to so many nations and cultures representing new life and rebirth. We at Fabergé have recently undergone a rebirth ourselves opening our first boutique in London after an absence of more than 90 years! How could we not become involved in a big egg hunt taking place right on our doorstep in support of these two wonderful charities, Action for Children and Elephant Family whose tireless work involves nurturing young people and the animals that share our planet?"
It is of course a razor sharp marketing exercise for Fabergé, they not only have the run of the city, supplanting a billboard for a amusing oversized egg, but they are also keeping company with a great list of contemporary creative minds, both incredibly established and also, encouragingly, more emerging. Let's hope they are able to raise the huge target they are aiming for - a sum in the region of £2million to be split between the two charities.
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