And how it would be “properly” rendered. Musing what language and lettering might have to do with a synagogue. Whether the writing on the wall harks back to the Biblical “Mene Tekel.” Wondering why the words (“THINGS THEMSELVES”) use the surface (“ON TOP”) of letters (“OTHER THINGS”) in order to appear on the surface (“ON TOP”) of the synagogue wall (“SOMETHING ELSE”). To what the term “then” might refer to, and to what the term “now” (“NOW AND THEN”). Realising what sort of thing has at some time or indeed at “ANY GIVEN TIME” been written (or may be written yet) on synagogue walls. And comprehending the nature of the artist’s layout in this place. Or the imposition on him. And once again entering the synagogue to behold the bare prayer room with its white and red window panes. And finally realising (or having to acknowledge) that everything you see (or nothing of it) is just itself. And yet possibly a lament, a warning, or a prophecy. It is a cornucopia of fleeting moments that lends Weiner’s sculpture the plasticity the artist must have had in mind.
This text is the translation of a revised version of the German essay “ON TOP. Lawrence Weiner und die Synagoge in Stommeln”, published in: Der Architekt, Zeitschrift des Bundes Deutscher Architekten BDA, issue 12/2002, p. 11.