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Maarten Inghels

Please Look In The Basement


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Please Look In The Basement – It was my lover back then who taught it to me fifteen years ago. She collected posters of missing pets. She had them with cats, dogs and even a ferret if I’m not mistaking. Since then, I started doing it too and I came to love it. More specifically, I love the awkward typography, the heartbreaking pleas and the photos that tell us something about a person’s private life. After years of collecting, I decided to call the owners and ask them what happened to their critters. I wanted to know the story of pets that one day decide to go their own way.

When I installed a temporary ‘monument to lost pets’ on the façade of Unik community centre in Antwerp, with a selection of stories and posters, I met Jan Lemaire who was so generous in sharing his collection of posters. He brought in designer Jean-Michel Meyers, who happened to have a brother Denis with, if possible, an even bigger collection, mostly from the streets of Brussels. Via these connections, I came across Nicolas Marichal, who had been removing posters from trees and electricity cabinets in Ghent for 10 years. The people behind these posters also told me unlikely stories of friendship and loneliness in the big city. I now suspect that there are more people out there collecting posters of missing animals all over the world.

Rarely do we get a negative response with regards to taking them with us. There are plenty of duplicates in the area and from my conversations I now know that most animals are eventually found. Only once did I feel remorse, when I pulled a unique poster of a lost cat off a façade in Venice between two canals. The shaky handwriting was patently original and not a copy.‘Nera paurosa, bella madonetta’ — anxious black, pretty little lady.

I am going to call her now and pray that the kitten found its way back home.

  • design : Jean-Michel Meyers
  • date of publication : July 2023
  • language : EN / FR / NL
  • pages : 256 p.
  • format : 32 x 23 x 1.5
  • binding : paperback, soft cover
  • ISBN : 9789464363425
  • publishers : Stockmans Art Books
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