Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool / P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York

The P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center opened several new exhbitions for P.S.1′s Fall Opening Celebration on October 19, 2008. One of them (coverage of the others coming soon) is Argentine artist Leandro Erlich’s monumental installation “Swimming Pool” in P.S.1′s unique double-height Duplex gallery.
Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool was first created during Leandro Erlich’s residency the the Core Program in Houston in 1999. Swimming Pool is one of his most well-known pieces. About the presentation at P.S.1 Erlich says that the P.S.1′s Duplex gallery is perfect for the piece: “It offers an opportunity to view the piece in the correct order: first from above and then from below and inside.” (excerpt from a conversation with P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss: Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool: Immersed in Reverse).
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.
We followed the order recommended by Leandro Erlich for shooting this documentary. Note the people who are performing swimming movements!
Leandro Erlich, born in 1973 in Buenos Aires, has been exhibiting his work internationally for over ten years. He represented Argentina at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001), where he showed “Swimming Pool” and is also featured currently in the Prospect.1 New Orleans Biennial and the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion in New York. Leandro Erlich lives and works in Buenos Aires.
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Opening Fall Celebration. New York, October 19, 2008. Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool is on view through April 13, 2009.
PS: Artkrush editor Paul Laster in conversation with Leandro Erlich.

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