Artwork of the month - video (2 min)

Dog Demon Suitcase

Year 2015
Size Unfolded: 45 cm x 30 cm x 13.5 cm
Materials Plywood, spruce wood, paint, woodglue, nails, screws, `bolts, magnets
Options Used during a performance
part of the wooden suitcase project
Edition 1/1
For Sale Not for sale

This artwork is part of a series of wooden travel cases built by R&F F&R themselves. All the cases in this series are intended to be activated in the public space. These suitcases all have the same modest dimensions, allowing them to be taken as hand luggage on trains, planes and bicycles with ease. The cases are all based on original, detailed blueprints (see also their Blueprints series).

This case is filled with coloured blocks, screws and two-dimensional wooden faces. By following simple instructions, F&R R&F can use them to create four different sculptural characters. Here the element of play, ever present in their work, is central.

The environment where the case is deployed, the interaction between the two artists and the reaction of the viewer determine which alter ego is ‘brought to life’ at a given presentation – sometimes a Pinocchio-like character, at other times a Frankenstein’s monster or even a little doggie with a waggly tail. These ostensibly happy, innocent figures each have a personal significance or duality; like yin and yang they become person and demon or man and animal. In this sense the dog is like a mobile version of the Chinese shishi or foo dogs, who ward off the evil eye from the places they protect.

Over the course of their years of collaboration, R&F F&R have found that their work only reaches its full artistic potential through repetitive interaction with a multitude of contexts – different locations, times of day, viewers/passers-by, etc. In short, through ‘living’ interpretations and the joy of play. ‘Trouvailles’ (chance discoveries) on location lead to further play, new layers of meaning and new works.

As such, F&R R&F enjoy taking their work from the artist’s studio and out into the wider world. On all their trips – in their native Belgium and abroad – they take one or more such cases with them, just in case the opportunity arises for a chance encounter with people or places. This ‘suitcase project’, which is still in a state of evolution, is starting to emerge as the common thread throughout the artistic oeuvre of R&F F&R and as one of their preferred approaches to seeking out ways of breathing life into their work.

Short interview with F&R R&F about the artwork. (Dutch language)

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