The works created by play with optical illusions and our perception of sound. At his studio in Villa Crespo, he works with craftsmen and designers to bring his visions to life, shaking up the art world with his passion.
Thousands of visitors have posed on his trompe-l’oeil façades, he made the pointed tip of Buenos Aires’ Obelisk disappear and he even tricked visitors into thinking they were seeing others underwater in a giant pool.
Leandro Erlich is shaking up the art world with his wonderful world of illusions.
The 44-year-old Argentine conceptual artist divides his time between his hometown Buenos Aires and Montevideo, the very liveable capital of neighbouring Uruguay.
In his dream factory – a three-storey studio in the Villa Crespo residential area of Buenos Aires shielded from the road by a giant metal barrier – Erlich creates his giant installations, which have earned cult status in London, Paris and New York.
Erlich has managed to wow both art amateurs and discerning critics with his work. The biggest display of his work to date – 44 pieces in total – has drawn 400,000 visitors to the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, where it will run until April 1.
“Erlich stimulates the senses, not just the intellect. He’s asking patrons to live through an experience, as one does at the theatre,” explains Andrés Duprat, director of the National Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires.
In Montevideo, he found refuge and the “distance” needed to work. “I lived away from Buenos Aires for a long time – five years in the United States, five years in France, before returning to South America.”
In the Uruguayan capital, he finds inspiration and time to think.
“I have trouble working in places where there is too much stimulation, too much noise,” Erlich says.
“With globalisation, the world is smaller now. My universe is indisputably very Rioplatense,” he says – an adjective describing the River Plate estuary separating Argentina and Uruguay.
In Buenos Aires, many remember when he made the tip of the Obelisk vanish in 2015. He covered the point with a sort of square cap, giving the impression it was cut off. In tandem, a replica of the tip was built and placed in a museum.
“The idea was for people to take back the monument,” which cannot be entered, he said.