The American artist Lawrence Weiner works in spoken and written discourse. His word strings tend to be inscribed in upper-case letters on walls indoor or outdoor. In most cases they relate to their immediate surroundings, to the place where they have been placed, to the situation, or to atmosphere defining this place. Weiner’s words are sculptures: The enunciation of the words, their echo in the act of speaking them, reading them, the mental realisation of what has been read, makes the words occupy the space they correspond to.
Word sequences thus turn into clusters of “spaces” that enter into relationships with one another every bit as complex as the syntax of a sentence. The effect of these interrelated word spaces is generated within the imagination. On an abstract level, the words signify things that have a presence in physical reality, except that they enter into a relationship with each other and thereby invest themselves with significance.
When creating his artwork “ANY GIVEN TIME“ at Stommeln Synagogue, the artist left the small hall of the former house of prayer completely empty. He simply inscribed the exterior wall in fractured stencil lettering, the silver-coloured lines reading: “THINGS THEMSELVES ON TOP OF OTHER THINGS ON TOP OF SOMETHING ELSE NOW & THEN“, with the German translation right next to it: “DINGE SELBER AUF ANDEREN DINGEN AUF ETWAS ANDEREM JETZT & DANN.” The question of what Weiner means to tell us with his oeuvre is answered the moment visitors begin to discuss the message communicated by the words. The point being that people are mystified by the signified. Hunting for connections between the words and their meanings. Pondering the link between the building and the writing. Discussing the arbitrary German translation of the American wording.