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Liminal: The Quest of Leandro Erlich

SNA (Buenos Aires) — Liminal is the title of the massive retrospective of Leandro Erlich works that took place at the Malba Museum in Buenos Aires during July-August 2019.

“Liminal” points out at the space in-between, not here nor there, a transitional space. The reason why it is so fitting a description for Erlich’s work is because all of the installations are experienced simultaneously by those who visit. Entering the Malba, visitors discovered that everything on view looks familiar. There, amidst hair salons, elevators, and classrooms, they entered an enhanced reality.

You may feel that it’s not safe to linger on for too long at an Erlich exhibition or you may never reach your initial destination. To avoid it you keep on moving along with the herds of visitors taking selfies.

But, this concept, too, is open to interpretation, since it could also be argued that living in the interstices of time and space is becoming increasingly common in today’s world where political and economic chaos are on the rise. Therefore, why not to reflect on the liminal experience of millions of displaced people in order to come up with sustainable solutions? Liminal poses a subversive view of reality which proposes that at any given moment anyone may enter into a new way of experiencing events.

Buenos Aires is by no means the only place where artist Leandro Erlich has made up spaces that deceptively portray banal, everyday sights. In diverse countries and continents, Erlich has constructed a diverse series of ‘scenographies’ that mock reality.

Buenos Aires, a city that serves as the background for the artist’s life, holds a special place in his psyche. Buenos Aires has gone through constant political changes for the last forty years that deeply impacted its inhabitants. Buenos Aires is very much a liminal metropolis where the only certainty lies in the richness of its art production.

Erlich uses uncomplicated tricks and materials to fabricate his installations. After seeing a few works you’ll become aware that although the place looks quite ordinary, there is a surprise or shock awaiting at every turn of a corner. All of the sudden one discovers that the shock comes from realizing that you never reached the place you thought. This is exactly what the artist wants.

Leandro Erlich says, “break, build, and question issues that interest you. I expect to find in the viewer an universe of interpretations, and I do not want to make finite what can be broader.”

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