Forget what your eyes show and pay attention to what your head is saying. basically this is the game proposed by the artist Leandro Erlich at the exhibition “the tense”, which opens this Wednesday (09/15) for the public in the Banco do Brasil Cultural Center.
Installation created in 1999, “swimming pool” (‘Swimming pool’), set up on the institution’s patio, should concentrate a good part of the public’s interest – and the posts on social networks. , literally, a pool in which the visitor has two points of view: inside and outside.
Erlich himself, who is in Belo Horizonte for the opening – today participates in a lecture at the CCBB, alongside Marcello Dantas, curator of the exhibition –, who explains how this image is formed. Not only this one, but all the other works.
“I like the idea that people know how to recognize how work is done. In some of them, visitors will find their own role in it”, says the artist. “All the time, his work deals with debt. But the handsome one that has no tricks, it’s all in your face”, says Dantas.
The installation “Hair saloon” (“Salo de Beleza”, 2008), which opens the exhibition, on the third floor, is the first to have a “paper” for each visitor. What we find is a traditional beauty salon, with its armchairs and apparatus.
“I studied art and philosophy and grew up in a family of architects. My intention is to question our understanding of reality. Architecture is a strong expression of something real. A solid and real building. In these familiar spaces, things are just the way. that they are. But they can be otherwise”
Leandro Erlich, Argentine visual artist
Another work that provokes the same feeling is “Lost garden” (“Lost garden”, 2009), in which the visitor observes, from the window, a kind of winter garden. You see yourself on a diagonal and believe you are facing an area like a cube – but the setup is triangular in shape.
Windows, by the way, are present in several works. In “Blind window” (“Blind window”, 2016), Erlich proposes an exchange of roles: a glass structure supports a window made of bricks. “El avin” (“The Airplane,” 2011) and “Night Flight” (“Night Flight”, 2015) are a duplicate: two airplane windows that show daytime and nighttime images of a flight.
“Windows are an important element of architecture, as they are the ones that allow us light. I also see them as portals”, says Erlich, whose work constantly proposes an intersection between art and architecture.
“I studied art and philosophy and grew up in a family of architects. My intention is to question our understanding of reality. Architecture is a strong expression of something real. A solid and real building. In these spaces, which are unfamiliar, things are the way they are. But they can be in another way”, he says.
“All the time, his work deals with doubt. But the handsome one that has no tricks, it’s all in your face.”
Marcello Dantas, curator
An elevator and a magic eye, also common elements of everyday life, gain new perspectives in the exhibition. There are works that play with the idea of reflection. One of them is “Traffic jam” (“Traffic jam”, 2018), a compact version of an installation Erlich created in Miami Beach for Art Basel. The original work, which discusses the climate crisis, placed 66 life-size vehicles made of sand on the Florida beach – many of them appear buried.
The show ends with the installation “Prximamente” (“Em breve”, 2019), which refers to the lobby of a movie theater. On the walls of the room, in reddish tones, we see several posters, actually paintings made by Erlich from photos.
In addition to the cinematographic reference, essential in his work, the films never made (all directed by a certain Charlie Lendor, actually an acronym for Leandro Erlich) are related to the works presented in the exhibition.
For the exhibition, Erlich, who lives between Montevideo, Buenos Aires and Paris, visited the three CCBBs in Brazil to see the possibilities of each space. “The tension” was postponed from 2020 to 2021 as a result of the pandemic. Practically all the works were built in a scenographic company in Rio and completed in Belo Horizonte. Assembly at CCBB took four weeks.
“The preparation, which involved people from Europe and Argentina, was carried out remotely. That was part of the difficulties. But I think the exhibition now brings a symbolic element, as several of the works have changed their meaning”, comments Dantas, who had already worked with Erlich in the collective “Invento: As revoluções que nos invented” at Oca, in So Paulo.
One of the most significant works of this new look resulting from the pandemic is the installation “Classroom” (“Classroom”, 2017). The audience arrives in the dark and empty space and sits on black desks – looking to the side, you see yourself reflected in another image of the classroom.
If before (the health crisis) the work reminded us of nostalgia, today it expresses reality, with empty classrooms all over the world and in which we have become digital ghosts”, comments Dantas.