Leandro Erlich's great presence in arteBA

After MALBA and Muntreff exhibitions, Erlich presents Ascensores, one of the greatest attractions in the festive 25th edition of arteBA

By Victoria Verlichak
Vista de la presentación de "asensores" en SeanKelly Gallery

Leandro Erlich (Buenos Aires, 1973) is the creator of provocative works that play visual tricks to alter perception, demand concentration, and shake the viewer up. With intelligence and humor, Erlich’s conceptual and technically ingenious art questions normalcy and space with invisible mechanisms that awaken fantasy in us all. Three works of his authorship are currently on display in three different locations in Buenos Aires: Ascensores [Elevators] at the Espacio Chandon in arteBA, Puerto de Memorias [Port of Reflections] at the MUNTREF Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, and La democracia del símbolo [Democracy of the Symbol] at the Usina del Arte.

The installation Ascensores is undoubtedly one of the greatest attractions in the festive 25th edition of arteBA—the annual contemporary art fair that opens in Buenos Aires on May 18. At the entrance to the fair’s Barrio Joven Chandon, Erlich surprises viewers with a participatory piece that turns an ordinary event (walking into an elevator) into an extraordinary experience of endless reflection.

Located on the shores of the Río de la Plata, MUNTREF, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo—which is housed in a section of the former Hotel de Inmigrantes—presents the work Puerto de Memorias. This site-specific piece both conceals and incites discovery; thanks to the university’s Robotics Department, the boats docked in the river are set in motion (in the version of the work presented in Korea in 2014, the boats did not move). The work partakes of the intangible memory of the artist’s grandfather who came to Argentina from distant lands. It invites the viewer to look to his or her own memories and experiences.

The illusory and defamiliarization are also at play in La democracia del símbolo, Erlich’s work about and with the Buenos Aires Obelisk. After having been installed at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) in late 2015, what is presumably the peak of the Obelisk is now on the Usina del Arte’s esplanade; the artist removed / cut the tip off the downtown obelisk for a few weeks last year, causing uproar amongst passersby. Inside the peak, viewers can see four projections of the views from seventy meters in the air—the height of the urban monument.