Just a tad over one-year-old in 1960, Manfred’s Mother placed his first eibrot (egg bread) in front of him. Nothing more than a simple slice of white bread, a bit of butter spread over it, and a soft-boiled egg to top it all off. Cut into small rectangles, he was able to eat it almost on his own already, either with his little fork or just his hands, with his parents occasionally joining in to enjoy a slice of their own.
Once he started to go to school, Manfred bargained with his mother to let him have a slice not only on the weekends but also, at least, on Wednesday, to get through the week more easily. Without his mother insisting on behalf of his health, believing eating more eggs to be dangerous, it would have likely been many more.
Up to this day, he continues that tradition whenever he can, eating an Eibrot every day of the weekend, and the occasional weekday.
One of the times when he had to break tradition was during his time in a Swiss boarding school. It offered no eggs for breakfast, leaving him to wait eagerly for the holidays to arrive and return to his parents, Eibrot for breakfast included.
Then, during his time in college, the Eibrot became his staple breakfast and comfort food, providing a stable slice of happiness during stressful times, first while studying, and later at work as a visual artist, no matter if it happened to land on his table in dreary early morning, during the midday slump, or late evening hours.
But it wasn’t until 2008, while eating breakfast with his family, that his daughter Lynn asked him, “Dad, why don’t you make Art with your Eibrot?” and he started to wonder what else he could make out of it. From this point on, he photographed every slice of Eibrot he made for himself, or that has been made for him. First, he published them on his website, and later on Instagram under @eibrot, a project that he is running to this very day.
Of the about 7000 Slices of Eibrot that he has eaten in the last 60 years, he has documented approximately 1000 of them as a photograph and published over 800 of them on his Instagram page. In addition to this, he printed every single one of them out and put it on a piece of carton with the corresponding date on it. There is even a video of him eating an Eibrot on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZORBkbHXuY
But all of these aren’t the same. Since he was seven, Manfred experimented with different variations, substituting the soft-boiled egg with hard-boiled ones, egg salads, and scrambled eggs in different variations, like with cheese, vegetarian sausage, or vegetables.
Despite his background as an artist, aesthetics are of no importance for him. Quick and easy, without any other considerations, the egg is put on the bread. As he wrote on his website once: “The aesthetics, the colors, the proportions, all of these are unimportant for the composition. My Eibrot is trivial; it does not want to change, to criticize, or offer an opinion on anything. The egg is no symbol for life, the bread no symbol for humanity or manmade objects in general or even a divine object, and spreading the egg on it no symbol for evanescence. It isn’t erotic or political. An Eibrot is a piece of bread with an egg on it, always a little inconspicuous artwork, beautiful and tasty – but nothing more.”
So if you want to create an Eibrot yourself, like you would a painting, just put it on and enjoy.
The continuity over time, documented over the years, is another thing Manfred loves. We can see the same continuity in his formal work, his paintings of ever-repeating cell-like ornaments, which he worked on since 1977. In a world full of digital media bombarding us with spectacles, elevating every aspect of ordinary life into a constant state of excitement, he believes that dullness is the most shocking thing art can achieve. And so, the unimposing Eibrot seems like the perfect vehicle to convey a piece of inner calmness and self-reflection. And which part of the day could be better suited to these feelings than whenever we enjoy a good meal anyway?