Christoph Westermeier & Jurgen Ots

Der Magen Europas

Trouvailles in Transformation

Practices of stockpiling, collecting, lending, borrowing, and archiving are a shared preoccupation of the two artists Jurgen Ots (b. Dendermonde, Belgium, 1978; lives and works in Brussels) and Christoph Westermeier (b. Cologne, 1984; lives and works in Düsseldorf). Ots spots and collects objects, often at the famous flea market on Brussels’s Place du Jeu de Balle. He stores these found objects—erstwhile collectibles, now derelict merchandise—in his apartment until he embeds them in collages or turns them into readymades. A series of photographs that Westermeier took in Brussels between 2018 and 2022 documents these trouvailles and other things in their natural habitat and shadows them as they move through various contexts: someone’s childhood memories, the scattered pieces of their everyday life that are normally kept under wraps, travel from place to place and take on a new visibility.

The artists’ book illustrates this productive and complex collaboration, surveying the oeuvre the two artists have compiled, which consists of found books, boxes, empty suitcases, frames, silhouettes, photo albums, and discarded bric-a-brac. It also documents their joint exhibition of the same title in the reception pavilion of the International World’s Fair in Brussels. With an essay by the editor Haris Giannouras.

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