Man in a Suitcase: Tulse Luper, Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise, Benjamin’s suitcase and heterotopias

“As a symbol, then, the suitcase is double-edged, ambivalent in the extreme: on the one hand, it evokes travel, displacement, emigration, exile and transience; on the other, it is that part of home that travels with us, a reminder of belonging and stability, the world of things we collect around us, the promise of continuity in the midst of change, of order restored. The suitcase is a portable heterotopia, an ‘other space’ that is always there and here at the same time, a home away from home, but also offering the endless possibility of new departures, whether desired or forced. At Compton Verney, the suitcase has lost its traditional use value as a transporter of a selection of items – the tourist’s range of clothes, the travelling salesman’s range of wares – to take on other functions. By virtue of its plurality, it has become collective, is no longer the container of individual dreams or necessities, but an element in a collection that, as a whole, represents the century.”

Man in a Suitcase: Tulse Luper at Compton Verney by Bridget Elliott and Anthony Purdy.