skizzenkoffer I (1977)

skizzenkoffer I-II

catalogue number: hdv 1977.032.1a-b
date created: (1970-1976) 1977-1979
classification: journals & sketchbooks
work type: sketchbook, sculpture
medium: 2 suitcases with natural material and artefacts collected during journeys in Greece, India and at home in Eschenau
dimensions: suitcase I: 46 × 76 × 26 cm
suitcase II: 29 × 45 × 16 cm
signature and inscriptions: [?]
current repository: collection Michael Berger, Wiesbaden
current repository number:
collecting history:
related works:
photo/scan: Rudolf Mattes, Bern
rights & reproduction: herman de vries
object label

at the stations in india, people were selling packages of food wrapped in leaves. and when they had finished eating they threw the leaves out the window. in the city the cows came and ate those leaves with leftover food. i had put a pack of these plates in my 'skizzenkoffer'. i had two suitcases that i carried with me when traveling. in it i put all the things that i found interesting. as a multi-dimensional 'journal'. these are now owned by the firm harlequin in wiesbaden, which has a large collection of works by fluxus artists.
i had a 'skizzenbuch', which was two-dimensional, a sketchbook. i also had all kinds of material that i wanted to show but i couldn't do that in that sketchbook so i had a suitcase in which i put the things that could be used in an exhibition. mostly things collected while traveling. one suitcase was not so big, it was black and lined with lilac silk. i had bought it at a market somewhere in india. at exhibitions, cloth, white cotton, were put on the floor and then all those things from the suitcase were put there so that you could see this whole collection.

i showed it in a gallery in heidelberg [mannheim - CS] I believe, at a private exhibition, in a small space. and i showed both suitcases at hoffmann, in friedberg near frankfurt. all the sketchbooks ended up in the staatsgallerie stuttgart, the whole convolute. a picture of the skizzenkoffer has also been included in a catalog of Groningen, of the leaf packages. with a list of titles i could still use, and it got more and more conceptual and eventually those titles became redundant. it was what it was. it was the beginning of things that i found, and that i could show. things that i also collected in that time. i no longer call it a 'sketch', i am collecting everything that is interesting to see at the moment. i notice that there is hardly anything that is not interesting to see. showing things then becomes virtually limitless. but i show them in part systematically, so that with small objects you can see the individuality in the crowd.

[source: herman de vries, bron (uitgeverij de zwaluw : den haag 2021) 150]

exhibition history
1980 'herman de vries. werken 1954-1980', Groninger Museum, Groningen
1985 'herman de vries. skizzenkoffer I & II', Augenladen, Mannheim
1985 'herman de vries', Galerie Mueller-Roth, Stuttgart
1998 'herman de vries - reizen 1970-1998. documents of a stream', Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede
published references
exhibition catalogue herman de vries. werken 1954-1980 (Groninger Museum : Groningen 1980) image repr. on pages 126-127, 150 (catalogue number 5.5).