leandro erlich`s surreal installation in new jersey invites you to climb + explore a brick façade

Designboom_ The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City has just launched its Big Art initiative, a new arts program brought to life by two inaugural installations, namely the fictitious apartment building façade envisioned by Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich. Dubbed ‘The Building’, this monumental and vertiginous architectural intervention references brick and brownstone constructions found throughout the New York metropolitan region—complete with fire escapes, window AC units, and a ground floor deli.

Liberty Science Center commissioned Leandro Erlich to create his dizzying ‘The Building’ installation as an invitation to bring his acclaimed Bâtiment series to the New York area for the first time, unveiled here as his first site-specific installment inspired by an American city. Known for his globally exhibited participatory installations built at an architectural scale, Erlich has so far brought this series of monumental pieces to cities such as Paris, London, and Buenos Aires, as well as Donetsk and the Echigo-Tsumari region of Japan.

Challenging the laws of gravity, the artist places a model of a building on the ground, allowing ‘spect-actors,’ as he refers to them, to interact with the model, draping themselves across walls and pretending to hang off a balcony; meanwhile, a giant mirror, standing over the model at an angle, creates the illusion of the scene’s veracity. Each piece in the series is a symbolic composite of the architectural vernacular belonging to the locale in which it is installed; as a result, LSC is housing a typical NY brick apartment building and storefront, greeting visitors as they find themselves in the entrance hall of the Center.

Much of my work, including the Bâtiment series — and, by extension, The Building — finds its basis in questions I have about the way we perceive reality. I’m excited to be showing this piece at the Liberty Science Center, because 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 in the same way — by asking those very same questions,’ comments the artist. ‘The Building’ installation by Leandro Erlich will remain on display through the summer of 2023.