Driving through the Piedmont countryside early in the morning, a shiny thing caught the attention of Misha Stroj. The aroused curiosity led to the discovery of a two and a half meter high, metallic bottle dryer, which was stocked with hundreds of bottles in different shapes and colors in the farmyard of a farmer. The long shadow of Marcel Duchamp’s ready made could not be escaped, although this object was a bottle dryer in use, which was also not an industrially manufactured mass product, but had been manufactured by the owner. Afflicted by this innocent as charged object, Stroj bought the bottle dryer and preserved part of his story in the family portrait Erminio con famiglia. This is the story and genesis of Portabottiglie, this monstrous bottle dryer that had never even begun to expect to be a work of art as a distorted revenant of Duchamp’s portebouteilles. But Portabottiglie is not the only one of its kind, a standardized product, like Duchamp’s marketfresh bottle dryer, but a tailor made to the needs of its creator and thus full of traces of empty wine bottles.
Stroj found a thing to which his former utility, his history, his builder, and his family were attached. In removing the private and functional context through the gesture of physical appropriation, Stroj activates the bottle dryer as a document of a past situation. At the same time, Portabottiglie, for his part, throws back the longer shadow on those historical readymades that had been released as objects from any future documentary potentialbuilding plot. (Verena Gamper)