Evaristti Studios
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Rolexgate

2006

Rolexgate

Rolexgate was produced using gold and diamonds that form a model of the infamous entrance to the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. A small train is entering the building. The train is filled with thousands of small, sparkling diamonds. Inside the train, in every window opening can be seen small gold skulls, as a foreboding and memory of the millions of Jews and other minorities who fell victim to Hitler’s extermination policy, Endlösung – the Nazis’ final solution to the Jewish problem.

The discovery of a glass full of gold fillings during a visit to Austria in 2006 sowed the seeds of the work. Evaristti was looking for an old second-hand tank that he could use in an extensive art installation in Austria. He was directed to a remote place where there was a man who sold old Nazi war items. Amongst the medals, weapons and uniforms in an old barn was a shelf on which stood a glass full of teeth with gold fillings. Fillings from the concentration camps, explained the seller. Evaristti bought the glass in a state of scepticism and shock. Evaristti later got thinking about the three teeth with gold fillings that he had, that had been passed on through his family from his Jewish grandmother, who was also a victim of Hitler’s persecution of the Jews. Evaristti’s grandmother’s teeth, which at the time had been removed in the usual way because of tooth ache, have been placed together with the gold from the teeth in the glass in Rolexgate.

The beautiful, glittering and seductive gold, mixed in with authentic gold teeth from Jews, collides with the telling of one of history’s most brutal, most cunning and cynical genocides. The clock in the tower in Rolexgaterefers to the fact that Swiss neutrality was exploited by Hitler to hide and store the spoils of war, including gold and other valuables plundered from Jews.