"Guido Messer sculptures 2009" Weikersheim Things to Do Tip by Nemorino
Weikersheim Things to Do: 16 reviews and 35 photos
1. The Foreigner, by Guido Messer (1989)
2. Full view of The Foreigner, with his suitcase
3. Ecce homo, by Guido Messer (1997)
4. Einigkeit -- Persil bleibt Persil (1992/93)
All you loyal readers of my Pforzheim page (thanks again to both of you!) may recall that I wrote a tip about a sculpture called The Claque by Guido Messer (born 1941 in Buenos Aires).
A claque, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, was a group of people who were paid to applaud certain singers or actors, or to boo others. Guido Messer's sculpture consists of four people clapping perfunctorily, with no sign of emotion on their faces. VT member Kathrin_E has found an identical group of four statues, by the same sculptor, on a street corner in Schwetzingen opposite the town hall and the Catholic church.
When I was in Weikersheim in the summer of 2009 they had an outdoor exhibition (from May 17 to September 27, 2009) of eighteen works of sculpture by Guido Messer, spread out all over the center of town. (This was a temporary exhibition, just for one summer.)
The sculptures included Der Ausländer (The Foreigner) from the year 1989, which by the way caused something of a controversy when it was displayed recently at the Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration in Paris. Some people took offense (inexplicably) at the title L'étranger, saying it was offensive to foreigners, so eventually it was relabeled as Le voyageur (The Traveler).
The group the fourth photo, entitled Einigkeit -- Persil bleibt Persil, might require a bit of explanation for those who don't live in Germany. Persil is a popular German brand of washing powder that has been on the market here for over a century, since 1907 -- popular mainly because of their huge advertising budget.
The five resolute ladies in the sculpture are in complete agreement that Persil remains Persil no matter what anybody else might say -- they scornfully refuse to even look at someone like me who uses cheap discount washing powders at only one third the price and dares to assert that it's all the same stuff.
Since Persil supposedly gets everything so clean, it was the origin of the German word Persilschein meaning a clean bill of health or a denazification certificate. After the Second World War people in Germany had to have such a certificate to prove that they had not committed any war crimes. It was widely thought that too many of these certificates were issued too quickly, even to ex-Nazis who didn't deserve them.
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