Simon Starling & Superflex


Curated by: Adam Budak

A cross-departmental, pan-Styrian, polyphonic project directed by Simon Starling & Superflex, with Super Eggs by Piet Hein designed in light of a mathematical formula by Gabriel Lamé set within a museum founded by Archduke Johann of Austria following an elliptical epiphany by Johannes Kepler.

Midway through its Bicentenary Jubilee Year 2011, Universalmuseum Joanneum, Austria’s oldest museum, founded by Archduke Johann, presented e.g., a cross-departmental project, conducted by Simon Starling & Superflex as a series of infiltrations within the rhizomatic and polyphonic collections of over 4 million museological objects.

Universalmuseum Joanneum, various locations

More about the project

Stadt Graz Umwelt Expand Box

Rites of origin and of fertility lie at the point of departure for this simple yet bewitched and bewildered proposal which leads towards establishing parallel worlds of objects and their relationships and setting up alternative storylines along the dominant (not only) museological discourses. As an alien colony, a family of Super Eggs, based upon a prototype, an elliptical Super Egg, designed by Danish scientist and poet, Piet Hein (1905-1996), according to a mathematical formula by Gabriel Lamé, lands within the expanded knowledge-fields of the Joanneum’s cross-scientific departments that, together with their collections, constitute the museological substance and the institutional apparatus of the Universalmuseum. Neither round nor rectangular, yet fixed and definite, the super-ellipse is an in-between construct – a physical and mental compromise for humankind, imprisoned in form and pattern. One of its most successful applications is the roundabout in the square Sergels Torg in Stockholm, the ground zero of the Super Egg

Starling & Superflex’s e.g. consists of nine narratives, featuring nine stainless-steel Super Eggs of various sizes and weights (from 30mm of 200g to 600mm of 750kg), unfolded through a time-span of the aniversary year within the Universalmuseum Joanneum’s spatial and discursive contexts - from the Planetary Room of Eggenberg Castle (itself designed around an astrological template) through the Kunsthaus’ exhibitions, Measuring the World (as an estranged counter-partner to Pistoletto’s Metrocubo d’Infinito) and Antje Majewski’s The Gimel World. How to Make Objects Talk? (coincidently coupled with the phantasmagoric Standard Egg of Polish Conceptual Artist, Pawel Freisler), the Super Egg’s voyage continues across scientific departments of natural history and archeology (inhabiting storerooms and archives or laid amongst Styrian archeological treasures in display vitrines) and through the vast collections of the world’s largest armory and the image bank of the multimedia collections (contemplating its loneliness on a deserted attic or on a shelf of an empty depot, respectively), down to the most intimate location: a hand of the Sculpture Park director, carried on a daily basis as a lucky token or an anti-stress device... 

Brechtian at its core, Starling & Superflex’s e.g. speaks a meta-voice, generating (chance) encounters, articulating (unconscious) relations and triggering (possible) sub-narratives along the instiution’s official trajectories of programming and structure. Distancing and alienation enhance interaction and unexpected connectivity. Possessing a transformative power, if not alchemical qualities, as a hybrid of a companion or a substitute, a friend or an enemy, a parasite, the Super Egg sets up a hall of mirrors for the museological object to be critically (self)reflected and thought anew. It becomes an agent of the universal and the heterogenous, a vehicle to grasp the world – „a ticket to another planet“... Here, on its shiny, polished surface, the microscopic and minute confront the unlimited and the infinite, opening up a territory of the universal, where aesthetics and science collide, where magic and meaning converse, where Columbus meets Borges meets Kepler meets Tesla meets Freisler meets Lennon (aka the Eggman) meets... 

Waiting for the epiphanies, what immediate truths will be revealed? 

e.g. - Kunsthaus Graz, "Measuring the World"

Simon Starling & Superflex
e.g. In Light of Metrocubo d’Infinito, 2011  more...

e.g. - Kunsthaus Graz, "Antje Majewski"

Simon Starling & Superflex
e.g. The Universal Egg, 2011  more...

e.g. – Styrian Armory

Simon Starling & Superflex
e.g. An Egg in the Attic, 2011  more...

e.g. – Austrian Sculpture Park

Simon Starling & Superflex
e.g. Held in the Hand, 2011

e.g. – Botanical Collection

e.g. Superovatus splendens Paill, 2011, 2011 At the Centre of Natural History department of the Universalmuseum the shiny Super Egg finds itself under the exacting scrutiny of scientist  more...

e.g. – Schloss Eggenberg

e.g. A Match Made in Heaven, 2011 As it navigates across Styrian time and space the Super Egg finds itself in the planetary room of the Eggenberg Castle. The design for this  more...

e.g. – Archaeology Museum

e.g. A Ticket to Another Planet, 2011 Throughout human history our understanding of outer space, of the heavens, has been fraught with complex philosophical speculations and contradictions.  more...

e.g. – Folk Life Museum

e.g. 4.5 Million Objects plus 1 Egg in the Making, 2011 While the Super Egg’s appearance elsewhere among the 4.5 million objects of the Universalmuseum Joanneum leads to  more...

e.g. – Multimedia Collections

e.g. In Anticipation of a Double Hatching, 2011 Continuing its journey through the departments of the recently reconfigured Universalmuseum, the Super Egg finds its way into what might be  more...

e.g. – Natural History Museum

e.g. The earth’s path would not change noticeably as a result of the Super Egg’s Styrian impact. 2011–2014 The Super Egg that sits in close proximity to the Natural History Museum’s model  more...

Supported by SFL technologies GmbH

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