Wer Immer Du Auch Bist
370 hand-written signs, 10 x 14 cm.
Kiel, Germany, August – September 1997, as part of the exhibition Nor-A-Way in Stadtgallerie im Kulturviertel.
Mounted on the doors of public premises in the centre of Kiel. All with an identical text: “Wer immer Du Auch bist komm herein und sei mein Freund” (Whoever you may be come in and be my friend).
In shops, restaurants and offices it was asked for the owners' cooperation and a permission to mount the sign. At the opening day of the exhibition remaining signs were put in a stack in the gallery, and every day during the exhibition period, signs from this stack were taken out to town. The size of the stack in the gallery decreased steadily while the visibility of the signs about town increased day by day.
It became apparent, however, that quite a few of the signs put up were removed. Many of the people asked also rejected the approach, giving different explanations; like not having the authority to decide whether to put it up, or that it was prohibited to display material that was not connected to the commercial profile of the premises.
The origin for the text is from a story about a person in my family. He was Emil Hertzbergers brother, who was married to my grandmother’s sister. He was a medical practitioner, and was called doctor Salco. He, as well as his nearest family, was exterminated during the II. World War. On the door leading to his doctor’s office in Amsterdam, he had a sign that read: “Whoever you may be come in and be my friend”. Through that door walked the German SS that came to take doctor Salco away to the gas chamber. – A. L.