Artist: Veit Laurent Kurz
Venue: Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin
Exhibition Title: Nutrition and Drama
Date: April 26 – July 20, 2019
Full gallery of images, press release, and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist and Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. Photos by Roman März.
We find ourselves in a time of mystical fountains, hands covered with feces and spells spoken by voices in the dark. This place is a product of schizophrenic coexistence between reality and fiction, inventions of a fearful mind that dare to escape from the idea that radioactive particles contaminate drinking water and the potential of getting an infection from a public toilet seat. What seems like a kidnapping into absurdity is a product of reality, a reality that shows that laughing and crying comes from the same place. This narrative is drawn from a place of fear, each of its inhabitants appears as a representative of an inner voice and thought.
When Pompeii and its citizens were covered by the ashes of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, a mysterious fountain disappeared forever, the so called Fons Salamandra. A myth explains that this fountain was connected to a holy spring that would lead to immortality and infinite youth. For centuries, the myth was passed on in various Greek, Etruscan and Roman texts that circulated around Naples. Records dating back 150 AD tell stories of how the hot water fountain purportedly cured more than 40,000 different types of illnesses and disorders.
When the area was christianised, Fons Salamandra, with its healing qualities, became widely famous. Vegetarian guardian dwarfs, known as Dilldapps, made the water flow by intriguing musical rituals – a theme familiar to the hagiography of the Celtic saints. After a period of research and testing it became apparent that it was not the fountain that enriched the waters through minerals and vitamins but the feces of the species.
The Dilldapp originated on a number of pacific islands. The species feed on plants and soil as well as eruptive volcanic stone. Historically, their habitats count as one of the fastest growing and most biodiverse ones in the world. Around 100 AD after their natural habitat became intensely populated by tourism, they undertook a long journey, which led them to the volcanic regions of the Vesuvius in the Mediterranean. On arrival they were captured and forced to live in hermitages, follies, grottoes and fountains on the estates of wealthy Pompeiian land-owners. The hermits dressed in a style similar to druids and remained permanently on-site, where they could be viewed as entertainment. As a sign of silent protest they would let their feces sink into the ‘holy’ waters.
During the digestive refining process, the vitamins A, B and D, as well as amino acids and minerals from plants and stones are extracted, and as a result of this purification the feces appear green. In addition, their metabolism creates traces of a Tryptamine, a familiar psychedelic substance, which is also found in various plants and in the secretion of the marine toad. This hallucinogen has the structural makeup of Serotonin and Melatonin and is a functional compound of other psychedelic Tryptamines, such as Psilocybin. For a long time, humans reported a mystical fountain, or a ‘sacred’ spring that brought waters of enchantment and life, yet no mention of potent fecal matter. More recently the Dilldapp’s excrement became known as a smart drug that prepares 0ne to escape earth’s clutches, the body and death itself.
In a time marked by constant consumption of goods, thoughts and nonsense, we are constantly digesting crap of others. It may be the case that the principles of life are to be found in shit.
– Veit Laurent Kurz