Port of Reflections was the impressive centerpiece of the exhibition of the same name featuring the always intriguing Argentine artist Leandro Erlich. Although a visual trickster of the highest order, Erlich says that he is interested in illusion as a way to question modes of perception, not simply as trompe-l’oeil. “Revealing the trick is crucial,” he has explained; it transforms the deception into something more complex, beyond the entertainment of mere eye-catching phenomenal conundrums, although it is not a criticism to say his practice gleefully includes them.
While Erlich has exhibited frequently at venues around the world, he had not had a show in New York since 2011. This very welcome survey of his work from 2008 to the present included well over a dozen models and plans, including some beguiling miniatures. They often had a surrealistic tilt, and referred to some of his best-known installations such as a swimming pool in which fully dressed people seem to float. Then there was the building façade that is a giant mirror. It replicates the movements of self-choreographing viewers on the ground as if they were effortlessly scaling its heights, dangling from its terraces and ledges, or posing otherwise precariously, suggesting classic Hollywood trickery (James Stewart famously gripping the edge of a building in Hitchcock’s Vertigo comes to mind).