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  • Daniel Spoerri

Der Koffer

The Suitcase

1961
Various materials
ehemals Sammlung Hahn/Former Hahn Collection, Köln/Cologne erworben/acquired in 2003
Inventory number: P 600/0

Daniel Spoerri’s suitcase from the year 1961 is like a miniature compendium of the art of nouveau réalisme. It features nearly all the main representatives of the movement with small works that represent their artistic strategies. “I often wished to put objects by all the artists into one suitcase. I took up this idea again and asked Arman, César, Deschamps, Dufrêne, Hains, Raysse, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Tinguely, and Villeglé to do a suitcase exhibit with me. I only needed my old travelling suitcase, which has hitherto served me as a table.” Arman, Gérard Deschamps, and Martial Raysse provided assemblages, Villeglé, Raymond Hains, and Francois Dufrêne posters, Niki de Saint-Phalle a plaster sculpture containing a smoke bomb and Tinguely a wind-up monkey. Spoerri himself reworked the lid of the suitcase, which had originally been used as a table, by making a “snare painting” of the objects on it. American artist Robert Rauschenberg, who at that time was living in Paris, donated the padlock, but that is lost today. The first presentation of the work of the nouveau réalistes in Germany took place in June 1961 on the occasion of an exhibition in Cologne. Spoerri took more than one and a half hours to unpack all the objects while trying to explain them to an amazed crowd. Shortly thereafter both suitcase and contents were scattered around the world. It took until the mid-1960s to reunite the various parts.