Exbury Egg in Hastings

Stephen Turner and Exbury Egg
Stephen Turner and Exbury Egg

Completing its tour of the nation’s highways, byways and waterways, Stephen Turner’s Egg will charm and fascinate in equal measure when it arrives in The Courtyard at Jerwood Gallery this autumn.

The Egg is a 6m (19.7ft) long and 3.5m (11.5ft) wide, wooden ovoid-shaped vessel, created for Stephen Turner by master boat-builder Paul Baker and architect Wendy Perring.

Turner has said: “The Egg itself is its own artwork. The walls are full of all the different things I collected and started to make whilst I lived here.”

Turner has previously taken the Egg as far afield as the River Exbury in the New Forest in 2012-2014 and beside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in Burnley, Lancashire in 2015. On its grand tour around the country, stopping at places such Milton Keynes, Portsmouth and London’s East End, Turner has often lived inside the egg, exploring each location’s environment, culture and history and catalogued his forays with collections of digital imagery, objects, drawings and personal maps. This has in turn, informed and inspired fresh artwork.

Hastings Old Town will provide a month-long home for the Exbury Egg, giving visitors a chance to explore this wonderful example of British artistry and craftsmanship.

Over time, the Egg has become bleached by the sun, scoured by wind and rain, and accrued algae, worms and barnacles. In the exhibition at Jerwood Gallery, the weathered patina of the Egg’s shell will be opened to reveal its interior - with displays of the diverse ephemera of Turner’s life, including his tools, works in progress and the general disarray of lived-in environment.

Everything Comes From The Egg will also feature a wide-ranging, complementary display inside the gallery comprised of drawings, prints, photographs, found objects, works on paper, sculptures and video made by Turner during recent years.

He has borrowed scientific methods and adapted them for his creative process; from collecting red river water in order to observe sedimentation, to presenting multiple series of glass jars filled with fauna and flora preserved in alcohol, to upcycling clothing by patterning the fabric with natural dyes.

His observational drawings on discarded packaging use inks sourced from oak leaves; and small egg-shaped sculptures are made from dove feathers, mosses, shells, crab claws and other natural materials. “My artwork is very much about nature and natural processes and the relationship we have with nature,” Turner told Channel 4 in 2013.

He will be continuing his explorations of places and communities during the Jerwood exhibition from September 16. Further info on www.jerwoodgallery.org.