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Abstract

So easy to break and yet impossible to fix, the egg is, in itself, a contradiction: soft but hard; delicate but durable; impermanent but episodic. One of nature’s most interesting creations, it is impossibly bigger on the inside than the outside and has accordingly captivated artists’ minds throughout history. Artists have employed the egg as an allegorical tool for its religious, surrealist, or feminist connotations. Ana Maria Maiolino, a Brazilian artist born in 1942, pushed the egg metaphor beyond its most common iconographic meanings. For the artist, the egg was not simply a religious, philosophical, or feminist symbol, but also a political symbol of the Brazilian dictatorship of 1964-85. In this turbulent context, the egg invited different concerns: women were not only navigating the social limitations of their gender, but also the repressive politics of their country. Fragile yet resistant, the egg became a means through which to explore the status of the censored woman artist living under dictatorship. This essay combines art historical visual analysis, feminist theory, and a historical analysis of Brazilian dictatorship of 1964-85.

Note on the Author

Mónica Lindsay-Pérez studied History of Art at the University of Cambridge and was awarded the Herchel Smith scholarship to study at Harvard University. She recently finished her master’s at the University of Oxford and is currently completing an exchange at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.

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