You don’t need nine lives to scale the side of this vertigo-inducing structure. The latest installation in Leandro Erlich’s Bâtiment series appears to defy gravity with a disorienting facade-turned-optical illusion.
On view now at Liberty Science Center, “The Building” recreates the exterior of a typical New York City structure with metal balconies, an airconditioning unit propped in a third-story window, and a deli at street level, all of which are positioned on the floor and reflected in a gigantic mirror overhead. When viewers walk into the installation, they appear weightless and are able to effortlessly dangle from railings and stand perpendicular to the brick architecture.
Part of the center’s 30th-year anniversary Big Art program alongside Dustin Yellin’s hefty glass sculpture, the jarring work “finds its basis in questions I have about the way we perceive reality,” the Argentine artist (previously) says. “Art, the way I conceive of it, exists to pose questions about our understanding of the world; in many ways, science achieves what we know it to the same way—by asking those very same questions.”
“The Building” is on view in Jersey City through the summer. You can find more of Erlich’s Bâtiment series, which has been ongoing for more than a decade with projects in Paris, London, Buenos Aires, Donetsk, and Japan’s Echigo-Tsumari region, on his site and Instagram.
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