It’s a sunny afternoon and you and your friends are having barbecue by the pool. You are ready to dive and drown your problems. However, when you come to the edge of the pool, you see a bunch of people in it, just standing there. Nobody seems to be drowning. What’s going on?
It is an art installation by Argentinian artist Leonardo Erlich, called “Swimming Pool”. It’s featured in Kanazawa, Japan’s 21st Century Museum of Art. An interactive peace, which means that people get to experience it on their own. How, you might ask?
Well, the bottom of the swimming pool is an empty room with its walls painted aquamarine. The celling is made of plexiglass material, and it’s later covered with 10cm of water. The water creates the illusion that the pool is actually filled with water.
The work really creates an unnerving effect.
“The work sets up an unfolding sequence of experiences, from our astonishment at peering down and finding people under the water to our gazing upward from the interior of the pool”, said the 21st Century Museum of Art.
“While undermining our everyday assumptions about what we think to be obvious, the work invites our active involvement in its spaces—once we catch on to its deception—and produces a sense of connection between people looking at each other.
It was not the first pool that the artist had built. He previously had a trial, hand-made version of it.
“The first time I made the swimming pool, I built everything myself: I bent and painted the wood, I welded the metal structure, I rented a truck to pick up the Plexiglas, I applied the silicone, I put in the water”, says Elrich.
“And of course that version of the swimming pool is a far cry from the one in Kanazawa, because it was really handmade.”
The main motives behind all of Elrich’s works, and they are all of similar nature is to undermine the human senses, to explore the ways human beings understand phenomena and the way we grasp reality.
Contemporary art nowadays is more interactive that’s ever been. And that’s the essence of all good art.