Born in Germany in 1985 Veit Laurent Kurz lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany between 2009 and 2012. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include, Gallery Isabella Bortolozzi (2019), Kunstverein Nürnberg (2019), Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst, Germany (2017), The High Line, New York (2017), Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (2017) and The Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York (2015).


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Winner of the Fourth Edition of the Prize 

portrait photo by Roman März.

The theme of the Fourth Edition of the BFSP is Negativo, the anti-form and the anti-space. Traditional lost wax casting process is based on a series of 5 positives/negatives passages: the original model transforms in its own negative/anti-form twice before becoming eternal bronze. Negative space resists as a necessary state of the form itself, essential and crucial chamber of translation. How is it possible to render this indispensable passage into a self-standing form, and to be transformed into bronze? The fourth edition of the BFSP (2019/2020) asks the selected artists to investigate the negative space, its anti-area, and anti-forms, and to explore their potential within the lost wax casting process.

After a careful analysis of the finalists’ projects, selected by a team of international curators and advisors, the BFSP Jury decreed that the winner of the BFSP#04 is Veit Laurent Kurz (1985, Germany) with the project “The Dilldapp Memorial”.
According to the Jury, Kurz’s project deals with theme such as trace and memory to align the interpretation of missing information in archeology with the reading of negative space.
The “Dilldapp Memorial” combines rigorously historical analyzes with mythology and fiction. The project explores the archeological space and its evocative potential. In Kurz’s work the excavation acts as conceptual tool for analyzing life and death, desolation and hope. From a formal point of view, the artist presents a challenge between positive and negative, presence and absence, inspiring a process of analysis that ends up being both mental and physical. The artist’s sculptural environment creates an analogy between the eruption of the Vesuvius Volcano, in 79 BC, and an imaginary world, a sort of speculative ethology.

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Pompeji's inspirations for Kurz's proposal

When Pompeji and its citizens were covered by the ashes of the Vesuvius Volcano in 79 AD most of the city and surroundings disappeared forever. The fright of this dramatic event got visible during the excavations in the 18th century. Archeologists discovered scenarios that showed the violent and surprising destruction during the eruption. Lava and toxic gases "froze" human and animal in their current, mostly fearful and protective position.

People protecting and hiding themselves from the vulcanic output as one of the main motives can be witnessed on side. The realization of those moment shots goes back to the filling of a negative shape that the ashes conserved over centuries.

A few years after the dramatic event of the Vesuvius eruption a myth was passed on within various Greek, Etruscan and Roman texts of a creature that would find life within those landscapes of volcanic rock. Like a phoenix from the ashes, the so called Dilldapp finds its creation within this landscape. Written tradition gives reason to assume that the Dilldapp appears around Pompeji as well as around Hawaii's Vulcano, Kilauea. One can assume that they find life within a tide pool, that fuses through chemical reaction minerals from volcanic rock and ocean water. With a body shaped like their Mother Nature and feeding on irruptive stone the Dilldapp can be imagined.

Over time less and less texts and passages can be found naming the species and it is assumed that by virtue of extinction the Dilldapp faced the same destiny than many insects, birds, fishes or plants on this planet.

The project that I propose to Fonderia Battaglia is a monument in honor of the Dilldapp, a fictitious creature that exists in my works since several years. It became metaphor for extinct wildlife and was part of various stories I have told in my installations. Based on my interest in archeology, in this case vulcanic landscapes that are shaped through lava and ashes made me situate the story in Pompeji. A place where negative and positive, as a concept, is associated in a mental as well physical sense.

The sculpture captures the moment of the Dilldapps coming alive, growing from rock and assembling their planet like bodies and limbs in steps like a plant. The sculpture shows fully grown Dilldapps as well as their individual separated limbs.

Excavation itself as a reconstructive process that deals with the active form of the negative and displays the uncertainly toward life in the past, drew my attention for this proposal. The interpretation  of missing information in archeology e.g.. excavated architecture, can be interpreted as the reading of negative spaces. A concept that also can be discussed in art and literature, the unformulated, "empty space" that can find interpretation through existing elements.

Methodologically the idea of the project is situated on a tableau format to support the idea of the excavation and to demonstrate an archeologic status between positive and negative spaces, presents and absents.

(Text by Veit Laurent Kurz)

download full press release here

The Dilldapp Memorial