NoguerasBlanchard presents the third exhibition in the gallery of Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich (Buenos Aires, 1973). Lost Garden, title of both the show and of one of the works included in the exhibition, proposes interpretations and reconstructions of landscapes that transcend, in an illusory manner, the physicality of the works and of the space. The show consists of an installation, a group of sculptures, and a scale model.
Erlich’s poetics are associated with sophisticated and paradoxical images created through captivating, three-dimensional visual illusions. Devices such as mirrors that multiply spaces and alter our perception of reality, situations that blur the boundary between the observer and the observed, or playful installations made of optical illusions collapsing and exposing our reality as counterfeit. On this occasion, Erlich presents a group of works that investigate the visual and conceptual possibilities of reflections, creating fictional atmospheres for which he employs both technology and craftsmanship.
Lost Garden, situated in one of the corners of the space, consists of a triangular construction with two windows on its façade, with a garden in its interior. In the words of the artist, Lost Garden (2009) aspires to create depth in the banal experience of everyday spaces, while suggesting a state of permanent longing and nostalgia. As in other works by Erlich, the viewer is trapped in a game of sculptural perception and trompe l’oeil, even when the external appearance of the piece contradicts what we perceive of its interior, a vast garden. The title’s reference to ‘what is lost’ contrasts with the idyllic and paradisiacal image of the garden, turning the work into a metaphor for the desire to recuperate and immortalize the past.
Two other works invite the viewer to peek through windows. Archaeological Storm (2013) shows a broken window, carefully reconstructed, from which we perceive an equally fragmented, nocturnal and rainy landscape. Moments of brightness provoked by thunder and lightning reveal the silhouette of a city in the background of the landscape. Window Captive Reflection (2013), on the other hand, reflects the routine and static atmosphere inside an atelier, as well as views of the vegetation outside. The juxtaposition of a double reflection, where one perceives details of the inside space alongside the swaying trees in the garden, situate the viewer before an ‘other’ timeless space of captive reflections.
In contrast with the works described above, Rowing Boat, Captive Reflection (2013) synthesises the idea of illusion without necessarily creating it. A rowing boat made of resin rests on a mirror inside a vitrine. Through the mirror we see the supposed organic morphology that a reflection on water would provoke. If we look carefully, we may see that said morphology is not a reflection, but the actual shape of the boat, so that the mirror is not faking the image, but is instead revealing its form.
Finally, the work Monte-Muebles -L’ultimedéménagement consists of a model for an installation originally made in a public space in the city of Nantes. Leandro Erlich’s models are a crucial part of the creative process. Acting as manageable prototypes they allow him to explore spatial dimensions and simulate a project on a smaller scale while they point to his work’s “relationship with a scientific precision, that reinforces a certain rational and logical sense which helps me to contruct reality”. In this way, Erlich shows us the mechanism behind his installations and allows the viewer to experience his optical illusions from contemplation rather than interaction.
Lost Garden is an exhibition that turns the gallery space into a container of multiple landscapes, reflections, and presences. Windows that give way to visual stratagems invite the viewer to contemplate, while questioning the nature and construction of that which is being perceived.
Leandro Erlich lives and works in Buenos Aires.
His solo exhibitions include: In-existence, SongEun Artspace, Seoul, Korea, 2012; Edificio, Usina del arte, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2012; Two Different Tomorrows, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, 2011; Leandro Erlich, Galleria Continua, Le Moulin, Boissy-le-Châtel, France, 2011; Jardín perdido, Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, USA, 2010; PS1, MoMA, New York, 2008; La Torre, Producciones, Museo Nacional de Arte Contemporáneo Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2008. Recent group exhibitions include: Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Niigata, Japan, 2012; Una mirada múltiple, Ella Fontanals-Cisneros collection, XI Havana Biennale, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA), Havana, 2012; Louvre Abu Dhabi, Gardens of Maharat Al Saadlyat, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2012; Paris Delhi Bombay, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, 2011; Modelos para armar. Pensar Latinoamérica desde la Colección MUSAC, MUSAC, León, 2010; Lugar Algum, SESC Pinheiros, São Paulo, 2010; Los Impolíticos, Palazzo delle Arti, Naples, 2009; El consultorio del psicoanalista, Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires, 2009; Argentina hoy, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil, 2009; V Liverpool Biennial, United Kingdom, 2008.