After Fabergé, an exhibition of five digital prints by artist Jonathan Monaghan, runs concurrently with Fabergé and the Russian Crafts Tradition from November 12, 2017 through June 24, 2018. Monaghan’s creations are finely-crafted, surreal versions of the famous Fabergé Imperial Easter eggs, two of which are in the Walters’ collection. His large-scale digital prints blend the dazzling detail of the original masterworks with aspects of modern culture. The gold, enamel and diamonds of the Romanov dynasty are replaced with the furnishings, technological gadgets and brand architecture of the present. “I place every detail and determine the surface texture and the lighting, so there is a level of craft that is similar to the original eggs, only instead of using gold and inlay, I am using pixels,” said Monaghan.
A graduate of the University of Maryland, Monaghan was a semifinalist for the 2016 Sondheim prize, has had work screened at the Sundance Film Festival and has been featured in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Village Voice.
Speaking about the source of his inspiration, Monaghan recalled his first visit to the Walters Art Museum. “After I arrived at the University of Maryland for graduate school, the first place I went to was the Walters. I saw the Fabergé eggs and I was blown away by the level of craft and detail; they take on an almost otherworldly presence,” Monaghan said. “Fabergé is part of our cultural lexicon—it often shows up in popular culture, like in a James Bond movie or on the television show The Simpsons—and embodies a kind of obsessive desire.”
Jo Briggs, Associate Curator of 18th- and 19th-Century Art, The Walters Art Museum
Jonathan Monaghan: Escape Pod, bitforms gallery, 2015.
Left to right: Rothschild’s WiFi, 2014; French Second Empire, 2014
Courtesy bitforms gallery, New York
Photo: John Berens