Oliver Laric
'Schengen Visa Hologram', 2012
Tamper evident security hologram stickers on acrylic glass, clear coating
175 x 100 x 0.4 cm

For Art Basel Statements Laric has created a series of wall-based holographic works that draw on issues of authenticity, value, and freedom of movement. The artist has entirely covered large acrylic glass panels in a shimmering surface of five distinct, custom-made holographic stickers. At first glance, the panels appear to be merely elegant examples of later-day elaborations on Minimalism, but this seductive visual simplicity belies a more complex underlying structure. The stickers, here, are variations of the security sticker affixed to the Schengen Visa, the universal entry pass to the majority of the European Union. In a wry twist, Laric decided to have these phony security stickers produced in the roughly homophonic Shenzhen – a Special Economic Zone in China and the world’s largest producer of electronic goods, both authentic and counterfeit. As with previous holographic sticker works, whose designs Laric based on security stickers that aim to prevent the counterfeiting of consumer goods like CDs and DVDs, these visa stickers serve as the sole, flimsy authentication of their bearer’s validity. However, when these stickers are presented in such profusion, and in such a blindly iterative pattern, questions arise concerning both the spurious system of human equivalence that they seem to endorse, and, most importantly, the very notion of authenticity that they purport to shore up. Just as it is now impossible to tell the difference between a counterfeit electronic product and its authentic counterpart, it would be impossible, here, to ferret out a “real” or a “fake” sticker, amid its mechanically produced twins. So to, on a more profound level, is it impossible to tell the difference between those legally residing in EU countries signed up to the Schengen Agreement, and those the border guards seek to keep at bay.