Margrit Linder

Two on the back

Two on the back

Silver pendant and installation 2001


“Having a two on the back” is an old Swiss German saying for being second instead of first.

I asked my friends whether they knew the expression, what it meant to them, if they had experienced being second in life and if they would tell me their story. I had made a piece of jewellery with a number 2 on it. While talking to me my friends wore it on their backs and I recorded their stories. Finally I took photos of them.

I also asked a professor of linguistics to give me a scientific explanation about the roots of this expression.

In an installation I hung up all the photos together with the piece of jewellery. I also included the explanation of the expert and the tape recorder with the spoken document for viewers to listen to.

Installation view in a gallery in Zug, CH, 2001,
20 Photos, 14.5 x 9.5cm, tape and tape recorder, earphone, silver pendant