Oltre la soglia: Leandro Erlich


Art | July 31, 2023 |

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Image courtesy of © Leandro Erlich | Palazzo Reale

Oltre la soglia: Leandro Erlich
Palazzo Reale, Milan
April 22 – October 04, 2023

Starting on 22 April, Palazzo Reale in Milan will host for the first time in Europe a large scale solo exhibition of one of the most prominent figures on the international art scene: Leandro Erlich. Promoted by the Municipality of Milan-Culture, the exhibition is produced and organized by Palazzo Reale and Arthemisia in collaboration with Studio Erlich, and is curated by Francesco Stocchi. An Argentine artist born in Buenos Aires in 1973, Erlich creates large installations with which the public relates and interacts, becoming the artwork itself. His unique works represent something absolutely new in the art world, bringing together creativity, vision, emotion, and fun.

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Image courtesy of © Leandro Erlich | Palazzo Reale

Buildings on which one appears to climb, houses uprooted and suspended in mid-air, lifts going nowhere, escalators tangled like threads in a ball of yarn, disorienting and surreal sculptures, and videos that subvert normality. These are all elements recounting something ordinary in an extraordinary context, in which everything is different from what it seems, and where we lose our sense of reality and perception of space. Erlich‘s works are the result of a profound and conceptual artistic exploration that flows into paradox and has already won over millions of visitors worldwide: 600,000 in Tokyo and 300,000 in Buenos Aires. Everywhere, the public has thronged to his exhibitions which are characterized by site-specific installations that are highly complex to make, and therefore quite rare.

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Image courtesy of © Leandro Erlich | Palazzo Reale

Starting 22 April 2023, at Palazzo Reale, visitors will be given the opportunity to become better acquainted with Erlich‘s art through his best-known and most iconic works, brought together for the first time in a single venue with the aim of systematizing the artist’s output. Erlich takes us to a magical elsewhere, where the possible becomes impossible, but that astonishes and excites thanks to a great aesthetic sense and a highly intrinsic poetry. The result his explosive, fun, exciting, and unforgettable. His work explores the perceptual bases of reality and our ability to question these same bases through a visual framework.

The architecture of the everyday is a recurring theme in Erlich’s art, which aims to create a dialogue between what we believe and what we see, just as it seeks to bridge the gap between museum space and everyday experience. The artist describes himself in the following way: I like to present myself as a conceptual artist working in the realm of reality and perception. My subject is reality, symbols and the potential for meaning. I strive to create a body of work – especially in the public sphere – that is open to the imagination, subverts normality, rethinks representation, and proposes actions that construct and deconstruct situations to disrupt reality. Speaking generally.

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Image courtesy of © Leandro Erlich | Palazzo Reale

Each of Leandro Erlich‘s works is to be read as a window onto the world that is sensitive to the gaze, that instead of misleading reveals the landscape that every person holds within his or her self. At first reaction, an Erlich work elicits a sense of familiarity with respect to the everyday, before raising a certain, insinuating doubt. By carefully gazing at the work, viewers begin to doubt what they perceive, as they are confronted with an inexplicable phenomenon. Stirring up questions, doubts, and emotions in the public interacting with his works is Erlich’s primary thought, and it is the viewer’s participation that makes the work complete. It is difficult to explain Erlich with words.

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Image courtesy of © Leandro Erlich | Palazzo Reale

He has to be experienced to be understood. Sponsored by Generali Valore Cultura with support from VeraLab and Mercato Centrale Milano, the exhibition‘s media partners are Urban Vision and Outpump and its mobility partner is Freccia Rossa Treno Ufficiale. The catalogue is published by Toluca Éditions and produced with the contribution of Galleria Continua. Erlich’s creations – as the exhibition’s curator Francesco Stocchi explains – are architectural structures that function as optic machines that question the world’s sensory data. With the exhibition at Palazzo Reale in Milan, Erlich selected Italy as his chosen place to present the ambitious project that, through the staging of spaces for new perception, stimulates reflection and contemplation.

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Image courtesy of © Leandro Erlich | Palazzo Reale

The fascination that a large public, beyond art world professionals, has for his work lies in its need to address viewers directly, raising questions for them, actively involving them, and even universally exposing them. The 19 exhibited works show that, by breaking free of the notions acquired with experience, each of us can experience a dimension of our own, a new, unblurred vision: the advent of a new kind of world. Each work is an event that regards small, everyday phenomena that, transferred to the museum space, acquire a new condition. The work stimulates new, collective behaviours and transforms automatic habits into moments of revelation, unease, and re-organization. When dealing with social behaviour, Erlich becomes an out-and-out agent of disturbance.

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Image courtesy of © Leandro Erlich | Palazzo Reale

The viewer’s commitment and participation are required to reveal each work, which intentionally elicits, as an initial reaction, a sense of familiarity with the everyday. A sense of uncertainty then creeps in: the attention demanded from the public is the raw material for Leandro Erlich, and only the public completes his work. Erlich’s installations in museums around the world have revealed layered and complex levels of interpretation. The language of interactivity, along with the range of the social media, allows his artistic action to expand far beyond the walls of institutions. Erlich presents explicit images of a current condition, thus exhorting visitors to recognize their own imbalance, exclusion, and self-fascination.

The exhibition itinerary already starts to surprise the visitor in Palazzo Reale’s courtyard, where the monumental site-specific installation Bâtiment, created in 2004 for Nuit Blanche in Paris, is set up. Since then, it has been presented worldwide, adapting to the characteristics of the local architecture. The exhibition mechanism, however, is always the same: the reproduction of a building façade, with balconies, niches, decorations, and awnings, is positioned horizontally on the ground. Visitors virtually “hang” from the decorations, while a large mirror, tilted at a 45° angle, reflects the ground image onto a vertical plane, giving the illusion of a real façade and the sensation that the law of gravity no longer exists.

more. www.palazzorealemilano.it

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Image courtesy of © Leandro Erlich | Palazzo Reale

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