An Island in Differdange
A project by Franck Miltgen in the framework of Esch22
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THE Wäiss Kaul PIT
A pit in the landscape, the Wäiss Kaul is an abandoned quarry on the Rumelange plateau once used for the industrial extraction of limestone. The white rock, exposed to weathering since the excavators left the pit, documents a time when the South of Luxembourg was submerged by a tropical sea close to the shores of an island. Dome-shaped patch reefs built by corals thrived under Bahamas-like conditions. The fossilized skeletons of the 170-million-year old reefs now constitute the substrate for an exceptional community of orchids and other endangered organisms, thus making the Wäiss Kaul an island of past and present biodiversity.
The fossilized skeletons of the reef where scanned and transformed into a digital model. A Memento Mori that is the starting point of the Wäiss Kaul project.
The Intermoselle quarry
The Intermoselle quarry just neighbouring the Wäiss Kaul, but on the other side of the border, is the sole active quarry for local cement production. Concrete is a key material for the local construction industry. As this material is composed of the limestone extracted here, together with sand from other quarries, the limits of a small territory become a reality and combine symbolically with the housing issue the country faces.
Wäiss Kaul, A Local Coral Reef
A Local Coral Reef concrete sculpture located in Ellergronn Esch-Alzette, is the central piece of the Wäiss Kaul project. The sculpture materialises a 3d scan of this coral reef from another age. The strata are reminiscent of time passing, but most importantly they show that it is in fact an image, a representation. Now there is a front-side in the round and a hollow back-side, like a mask that you wear in certain direction. This structures the perception of the sculpture. By transposing the orientation of the initial coral reef in the Wäiss Kaul to this place, the sculpture represents an obstacle that emphasizes the relation to the body in space. The brutality of the material is in accordance with this place, because if time is palpable in the Ellergronn, the sculpture projects as much into the past as it does into the future.
The production process of the sculpture is a driving force to the Wäiss Kaul project. The wooden layers of the formwork are transformed into the project’s scenography in 3 different locations and in 3 different moments.
Wäiss Kaul, An Island in Differdange:
The Wäiss Kaul project is not only a project about form reproduction but it is also about displacement. Here the history of the building reflects aspects such as industrial modernity, migration and the post-industrial era.
The former Paul Würth power station dates from 1913 and was part of the Luxembourg-Hollerich factory (Paul Würth is the name of the company that built the power station). It was dismantled and transferred to the Fond-de-Gras in 1988.
The concrete sculpture’s formwork is expanded and transformed into a new shape, calling to mind an island or a temple. With An Island in Differdange the new structure offers a scenography for a selection of local fossil discoveries.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Franck Miltgen works from multiple mediums, where he lets concrete abstract images appear, often large formats that unfold in space. In the field of expanded painting, technic and production process are specifically reimagined for every work. The scenic motif with themes like public space and the forces of nature are constantly engaging the artist.
An Island in Differdange: Franck Miltgen, dimensions 750x750x288cm, Hall Paul Würth, Minett Park, Fond de Gras, Differdange, wood and fossils from the MNHN palaeontological collection, models and imagerie by Serge Ecker.
In the framework of the project Wäiss Kaul © Franck Miltgen 2022