On the evening of November 9, 1989 upon hearing the rumor that East Germans were being allowed to move unimpeded to West Berlin, I rushed from my art studio to Brandenburg Gate. The scene was unbelievable, people were standing with assurance on the wall, where moments before they would have been shot.
The euphoria that followed is well documented. Soon, however, I realized that underneath this surface of harmony were very different aspirations and experiences. I realized that the result of the destruction of the wall would involve a process that would include pain for many people. Through my BAND-AID I wanted to indicate the psychological, emotional, political and economic pain that was coming soon in the midst of the joy and momentary freedom that was being celebrated.
I applied the BAND-AID on the wall under Brandenburg Gate among the scene of wall-peckers. Soon the police moved in and forced the crowd away from the wall. Evening arrived and I left. The next morning upon my approach, yet one kilometer away, I heard talk of the BAND-AID among pedestrians. When I arrived a solitary West German police van was positioned directly in front of the BAND-AID as if to hide it.
During the day East German border officials went to the West German police parked in front of the artwork and had conversations. Suddenly the West police pulled to the side. East and West Guards allowed people to approach the area and take photos. But others began to chip away at the wall and everyone was forced back. I was, however, allowed to re-glue damaged parts of the BAND-AID. When I returned two days later the BAND-AID was gone and wall chipping had resumed.
The humorous contrast the BAND-AID provided between the mass of people chipping away at the wall and the lone BAND-AID attempting to hold together and provide protection for the wall caused people to pause and reflect. For most, the true meaning and significance of the BAND-AID did not set in until after unification.