Of the primal elements, water is the most intimate. We intake it, expel it, ablute in it and have lived in it. As with any intimacy, the relationship breeds careful knowledge. So visitors to “Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool” at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center may be startled when they realize that the physical reflective property of water that they know so well has essentially been removed and replaced by a philopsophically reflective one by Argentine artist Leandro Erlich. Surrounded by fresh, sweet-smelling decking that runs the entirety of the duplex installation, “Swimming Pool” is a 20’x10’x10’ recreation of the real thing, with the exception of a shallow acrylic tray that holds a few inches of water at the surface. This allows for the illusion that the visitors who enter the pool from the sub-level are submerged – fully dressed, feet firmly planted on the pool bed. It’s a surreal experience from either vantage, the watery depths or the deck above.
“Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool” through March 1, 2009 at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center.