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Leandro Erlich‘s “Seeing and Believing” is currently on view at the Mori Art Museum through April 1. He is an Argentinian contemporary artist, well known for The Swimming Pool (1999) which shows individuals strolling around seemingly submerged under water. In reality, they’re in an underground room that has been painted light blue. The water is exceptionally shallow, kept up at a level of only 10cm over a sheet of strengthened glass. This incredible work was first shown at the Argentinian Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale and now has a permanent home at the 21st Century Museum of Art of Kanzawa.
At the Mori Art Museum, the first work on display shakes up our thoughts of good judgment. Boats appear to be floating on water. However, viewers soon discover the installation is an illusion created by a computer that has calculated how a vessel rocks on water, reproducing that rhythm.
In another room, visitors can challenge gravity, seeing themselves hang off the facade of a building thanks to some clever tricks of the eye. A mirror is put at 45 degree angle to an image of a skyscraper, on which viewers can strike dramatic poses, becoming performers themselves.
Erlich also created a haunting scene set in an abandoned school. Entering one room, visitors are reflected in glass, transformed into phantoms of the empty classroom beyond.
The artist is a master of the second take, calling us to question what is real, the tricks the eye can play, and the assumptions the mind tends to make, challenging us to try and confront the world with a whole new perspective.