Leonardo Erlich’s Two Different Tomorrows confronts gallery visitors about ordinary spaces. Based conceptually around the idea of different time zones and spatial disorientation, Erlich uses the form of the elevator to explore what the artist calls a “shifting sense of reality.” The show consisted of 5 large installations and sculptures.
The highlight of the exhibition is Elevator Maze, which consists of grid of mock elevator interiors. The elevator doors are open, which allow the viewer to step inside the interior. In each individual elevator interior, the viewer has the illusion of standing inside a mirrored space (because the left and right walls have mirrors). The viewer doesn’t register that the immediate reflections on the left and right are in fact real spaces until another person walks into the sculpture. The piece reveals an interesting tension between technology and illusion. The repetition in the mirrors is like an ode to the gridded repetition of Minimalist sculptures.
Another piece that created a disorienting allusion was a simulation of the interior of an elevator shaft. The installation called Elevator Shaft tilted the vertical structure on its side. This gives the viewer the feeling of physically walking down the walls towards the top of a moving elevator. The realistic installation proved to be the most realistic out of all of the Erlich art works.
The show is an ambitious exploration of spatial experience, but there is also a poinient tension between high and low technology. In the sculpture, Stuck Elevator, Erlich created a fully realistic replica of an elevator complete with an submerged interior elevator chamber. However, the illusion was ruined by the painted panel on top of the open door. The painted panel revealed the pulleys and gears of the elevator, but appeared neither realistic nor convincing. Also, instead of using a real video of the clouds in the piece, Double Skylight (The Clouds Story) the hyper perfect clouds were created in aftereffects.
Leonardo Erlich’s show Two Different Tomorrows closed this Saturday at Sean Kelly Gallery.