Lateritour I Portmanteau Word as Messages in a Bottle

Suitcases containing bricks (laterites), but also: bottles and bottle posts, words, secret compartments, pictures under glass, glass writing, shards of clay. A closer look reveals materials that are usually seen as containers or parts of containers that lie on the edge of attention because attention is focused on what they contain, their contents. But when this has evaporated: What traces then do the wall fragments of housings and houses, the suitcases and boxes, the bottles and containers show?

Readable suitcases

Robert Krokowski jokingly refers to his installations with brick fragments and erosion moulds made of fired red clay as Lateritour. “Lateritour” is itself a portmanteau word and at the same time a paragram and an anagram. It is easy to read out the word “literature”, which here turns out to be an archaeological and also detective journey.

If the letters of a word start to move, if they are detached from fixed combinations, if they come together to form new configurations – then surprising connections emerge. And suddenly one no longer wonders what meanings have been put into a word – but what meanings it unfolds when it is seen as a suitcase of the possible letter combinations it contains.

“Kofferwort”, mot-valise, portmanteau word – Robert Krokowski’s suitcase installations are closely related to word formations, whose scientific description is obviously difficult: are they mergers, contaminations, amalgamations, contractions, mixtures, crossings, contractions, couplings or encapsulations of words in a new word? So what is packed by suitcase installations? Or what has accumulated in them, waiting to be unpacked while reading? Are suitcase installations themselves nested texts or even readable rebus images whose meaning reveals itself if only they are taken literally?

Travel tales of a different kind

Portmanteau words are hatched over time in a quite literal way. It can happen, for example, that the finds of a „Lateritour” turn into literature in the process. Each suitcase word is an incubator, a breeding ground for red pitches/clay layer („Tonlagen“). What does the suitcase tell about its owner or possessor, the destination and the reason for the journey, the objects of daily use and the special souvenirs, what about the messenger and the recipient? Especially since double entendres are always to be expected in portmanteau words.

Whether in the Redsonanz suitcase or the Melanchronia installation, the suitcase installations give resonance to a red tone that runs through much of Robert Krokowski’s work.


Robert Krokowski lateritour. in exposed position

Robert Krokowski lateritour. in modular configuration