Alluding to the idea of a lived or living archive THE STOMACH OF EUROPE II by Jurgen Ots and Christoph Westermeier consists of collections of found books and photo albums, as well as a group of photos taken in Brussels last year. Someone’s childhood memories, a fabric of their everyday life that is usually kept under wraps moves from place to place and attains a new status of visibility. It becomes public, property to the voyeuristic gaze of strangers at a flea market and is redistributed within the networks of contemporary art production. The exhibition space is a pavilion built for the international Expo ’58 located in the center of Brussels. The social role it once held, as a place for visitors to get their tickets whilst entering the fair seams almost symbolic. It becomes a stand-in for the ‘Stomach of Europe’: a dialectic of history and its burden on the face of the contemporary united Europe.
The work is created within a net of social contacts, common narrations and old commodities that have lost their place within the market. Sums of information are picked up by both artists who look into their Archaeology and try to dig out the thread connecting them together. The interplay between object and document, between collective unconscious and personal testimony becomes evidently a political act: one about the societal problems of united Europe, the terms of dealing with the historical past and the somewhat worrying power narration still holds in the context of art.
Der Magen Europas II, 2021, Rotonde58, Brussels, in collaboration with Jurgen Ots, Christopher Westermeier, text and curation by Harris Giannouras, photography Philip Poppek