my name is lettie eggsyrub | Gloucester Road
This endless hot summer hasn’t led to many art discoveries. Instead, I’ve been spending too much time cowering under the blessed cool air of my desk fan: that £20 at John Lewis is the best money I’ve spent all decade. But one work that’s been on my mind a lot, thanks to my daily commute on the District Line, is ‘my name is lettie eggsyrub’, a silly yet also somehow haunting installation that runs the length of the unused platform at Gloucester Road tube station.
Part of the ongoing Art on the Underground series, and from British artist Heather Phillipson, it’s an extravaganza of large boiled eggs, fried eggs, 24 vinyl chicken feet, and video works inspired by old computer game graphics.
There’s also a massive automated whisk, egg sandwiches, custard tarts (an excellent use of an egg) and some diagrams of chicken foetuses. And each day, as the Eastbound train pulls in, the commuters bound for their jobs in the city and west end turn, crane their necks, and smile. The whisk is blown around by the rush of air.
Reading up on the work though, I realised that the artist is playing at a different game than being fun and silly. After all, a cooked egg is a symbol of a life lost; an intact egg the symbol of a life to come. “The actual matter of the work is these eggs being subject to torture. Getting whisked, getting cracked, having nails driven through them,” Phillipson said. “The egg is an entity - a substance - that’s the beginning of life. We as human beings come from eggs as well, you know.” Well, it’s right there on the video screens. Superimposed on the egg-themed imagery is two words: OH MOTHER!
Anyway, there’ll be plenty more room for interpretation, as ‘my name is lettie eggsyrub’ is on show at the platform for the next year.
my name is lettie eggsyrub is at Gloucester Road underground station (London). From 7 June 2018.