Norway model. Canada+++, Chequers Plan. Just when you thought you’d heard it all, now add the Swiss Getaway. A Swiss passport has long been regarded as the real McCoy and nothing comes close to it as a travel document, not even the soon-to-be-ressurected iconic blue British passport. And you could have gotten your hands on one if you’d had your ears to the ground as you should have, exploring every sliver of opportunity to join the imminent Brexodus.
Sculptor Tom Sachs, 52, renowned for his bricolage recreations of engineering and design works set up Swiss Passport Office inside Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac where Victoria Beckham recently held her 10th anniversary catwalk in exclusive Mayfair. It was a 24-hour operation where applicants paying 20 euros were issued with the sought-after document. As would be expected, eager applicants queued round the block for their valuable Swiss passports.
At desks set up in front of a Swiss flag, applicants had their picture taken and their name typed onto a serial-numbered Tom Sachs Studio passport. The document was stamped with a studio endorsement and its number put into a database. The applicants were also asked questions about their background. One of the lucky ones told WLT his application was processed by Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, the new creative director at Louis Vuitton. “It was a surreal experience, but worth the wait,” he gasped.
The installation, set up to coincide with London’s annual Frieze Art Fair, “encompasses contemporary concerns relating Brexit, Syria and (US President Donald) Trump’s immigration policies”, according to a statement by the gallery.
“(Sachs’ ‘passports’) are not authorised by the Swiss government,” Sachs told Reuters ahead of the event.
“They are authorised by my studio and you can use them. You can make the world not the way it is but how you can want it to be by believing and that is how you affect change.”
He added: “We (humanity) have created unbelievably sophisticated things that almost have approached the power of nature, they don’t really come close but emulate it. The passport office is kind of the dark side of that. It’s the most bureaucratic, it is the most difficult. When you get a passport here, you will be interrogated and you will be challenged. But you will leave with a passport.
“The Swiss passport represents the ultimate status in nationality. It is the most prestigious country in Europe. It is a tax haven. No one is going to bomb Switzerland because the good guys and the bad guys both have their money there. It is the centre of Europe.”
Like the official document, Sachs’ Swiss passport has a red cover and white cross on the front. Or you could describe it as Swiss army knife to tackle any unforeseen Brexit eventualities.
- Swiss Passport Office is on display at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Ely House, Dover Street, W1S 4NJ from 5 October – 10 November