© All rights reserved Leandro Erlich 2004 United States Permanent installation at the 21st Century Museum of Art, Kanazawa, Japan. Masonry, swimming pool ladder, laminated glass and water. 20 x 9 7/8 x 10 feet (600 x 280 x 300 cm). Courtesy: Sean Kelly Gallery, New York Photo: Don Pollard.
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool, an extraordinary and visually confounding installation by the Argentine artist Leandro Erlich. Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool can be viewed at P.S.1’s unique, double-height Duplex gallery.
Leandro Erlich is known for installations that seem to defy the basic laws of physics and befuddle the viewer, who is introduced into jarring environments that momentarily threaten a sense of balance or space. For this exhibition, Erlich presents one of his most well-known and critically acclaimed pieces, Swimming Pool. Speaking about the project, Erlich says: “When I first visited P.S.1, I remember thinking how perfect the Duplex space would be for the installation of Swimming Pool. This space divided the experience of seeing the work perfectly, and in the correct order. Almost ten years since its creation, Swimming Pool is finally in the exhibition space for which I have always felt is so perfectly suited.”
Erlich has constructed a full-size pool, complete with all its trappings, including a deck and a ladder. When approached from the first floor, visitors are confronted with a surreal scene: people, fully clothed, can be seen standing, walking, and breathing beneath the surface of the water. It is only when visitors enter the Duplex gallery from the basement that they recognize that the pool is empty, its construction a visual trick fashioned by the artist. A large, continuous piece of acrylic spans the pool and suspends water above it, creating the illusion of a standard swimming pool that is both disorienting and humorous.
Leandro Erlich (b. 1973, Buenos Aires) has been exhibiting his work internationally for over ten years. He has had solo shows at the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona (2003); MACRO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (2006), and Le Grand Café, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Saint-Nazaire (2005). He represented Argentina at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001), where he showed Swimming Pool, and was also featured in the Singapore Biennale (2008), the Liverpool Biennial (2008), 7th Havana Biennale (2001), the 7th Istanbul Biennial (2001), the 3rd Shanghai Biennale (2002), the 1st Busan Biennale (2002), and the 26th Bienal de São Paulo (2004). His work will be shown in the upcoming Prospect.1 New Orleans Biennial in 2008. He lives and works in Buenos Aires.