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Some Eggs Breathe, Some Eggs Crack

"The eggshell is an architectural masterpiece. The egg is where every living thing comes from. It is political, feminine and divine. The whole egg contains a being before it cracks itself into life. Or not.", says Hedvig Bergman in connection to her recent solo exhibition at Misschiefs in Stockholm.


Hedvig Bergman, installation view, Being With a Dead Bird (2021), collaboration with Märta Bergman and Siri Pårup, Some Eggs Breathe, Some Eggs Crack, Misschiefs, Stockholm, 2021. Photo: Daniel Camerini


C-P: This exhibition of yours at Misschiefs continued a conceptual trajectory around ”the egg” as a notion and placed at the fore a taxidermy rooster. What do you relate your interest in the egg to and what is the backstory of the rooster finding a way into your practice and becoming "permanent" there?


H.B: I have been mesmerized by eggs since my childhood. There was a henhouse at my kindergarten and the kids were told to bring the new laid eggs to the kitchen. I did that every morning with the greatest dedication and care since I didn’t want to crack those treasures. A few years ago I brought eggshells into my studio. It started as a fascination for the material and the shape. Up until today, my world around the egg has kept branching out. The eggshell is an architectural masterpiece. The egg is where every living thing comes from. It is political, feminine and divine. The whole egg contains a being before it cracks itself into life. Or not. My fascination with this translation - the birth - turned my eyes to the transition at the other end of life. I got my hunting license a few years ago. When my sister who lives in the countryside bought hens, she asked me if I could kill the roosters when they were supposed to be killed. Too many roosters in a farm bring chaos, so a rooster has to be killed once in a while. The first time I got there I couldn’t carry it through. It was existentially too hard. The situation stuck with me and I wanted to process it. I then asked the artists Siri Pårup and Märta Bergman if they wanted to do it with me.


Hedvig Bergman, installation view, Being With a Dead Bird (2021), collaboration with Märta Bergman and Siri Pårup, Some Eggs Breathe, Some Eggs Crack, Misschiefs, Stockholm, 2021. Photo: Daniel Camerini


C-P: Although a discourse about the subjectivity of the non-human animal and its autonomy hardly is commonplace neither in art nor outside, it does exist. On the one hand there would be those who would reject the notion of ”live”, if yet dead animals being used in art, and on the other hand there is the question of what the rationales might be in actually doing so. What is the levelling of interests here?


H.B: This question has many answers. Let’s start by saying that I gave birth to my firstborn baby last year. That nuanced my way of seeing. Nature is brutal. The transition into life is violent. Death is a catastrophy. But it is nature. Animals are killed by humans everyday, for food, clothes, by accident or just for being in the way. The rooster we killed was going to be killed in any case; if not by us, another person would have done it. This happens constantly with limited time for reflection. We chose to bring the dead bird into the realm of art with the aim to highlight the subjects that surround our actions. To bring light to the preserved bird as a symbol of death, as an unknown state of being and the complex relation between human and nature. We use the bird for this purpose and we use the gallery space as a platform to address this.


Hedvig Bergman, installation view, Some Eggs Breathe, Some Eggs Crack, Misschiefs, Stockholm, 2021. Photo: Daniel Camerini


C-P: These are definitely more precarious times in light of cancel culture having been a modus operandi of the recent day. The threshold for what is deemed proper have in a sense been raised with such critical scrutiny. Have you found yourself impacted by such climate?


H.B: I myself feel confronted by the preserved bird and his eye wide open, staring at me. From what I have heard most of the visitors of the exhibition have felt the same; a by-human-killed-animal looking at a human. People feel sad when they see it. A few people have been provoked by the acts and the whole concept. We were aware this work could be triggering for some people. But then again, it is hard, for everyone, to live without ever causing any damage. And within the framework of an artistic practice I believe the tools are a lot different from in civil life. I wouldn’t preserve an animal in my everyday life, for instance. Our intention of bringing something like this into a gallery space is to create room to reflect and to meet in a dialogue about these difficult matters, rather than being approved by some and "cancelled" by others. If we had adapted the work to everyone's morals and standards it would have been a really lame work, I would say.



Hedvig Bergman's 'Some Eggs Breathe, Some Eggs Crack was on view November 6 - November 27 at Misschiefs on Linnégatan 4, Stockholm


www.hedvigbergman.com