Untitled (Arbeit Macht Frei) is a replica of the famous inscription over the gate of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, which reads “work sets you free”, a slogan that became the perfidious and ominous motto of the Holocaust machinery. The work was created for Jonathan Horowitz’s exhibition under the perverse title Minimalist Works from the Holocaust Museum in 2011. The original inscription from the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp gate was cut into three parts during a theft in 2009 ordered by a Swedish neo-Nazi. By recreating the object in this very form, the artist poses a question of the meaning of devastation of a symbol of evil, but also its restoration and production of a copy. By repeating the loathed symbol, Horowitz also points to the corrosion of the “last resort” mechanism that protects Europe from a new war: memory of the Holocaust.
Jonathan Horowitz (b. 1966 in New York) – his art borrows from the traditions of Conceptualism and Pop Art, often employing “found” images, for which he finds an appropriate form of processing: video, sculpture, photocollage. His artistic expression is based on a formal and aesthetic analysis of such fields as the media image of war, consumerism, and modern-day historical policies.