Born in Argentina, Leandro Erlich is one of the contemporary artists best known to Japanese audiences. He has held major solo exhibitions at the Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Roma (Italy) and MoMA PS1 (USA), and created The Swimming Pool , a permanent exhibit at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa). His solo exhibition at Mori Arts Museum (Japan, 2017) drew a total of 610,000 visitors.
Erlich’s oeuvre encompasses videographic expression using sound effects and visual illusions as well as enormous installations that transform entire spaces into artworks. His work takes familiar scenes and inverts them to surprise and discomfit viewers, challenging them to reconsider the nature of the world and how we perceive it.
Lighting Pipes was created specifically for this space by Erlich, who found resonance with architect Sou Fujimoto’s concept of “creating something new while maintaining history” for his renovation of the property. The gleaming pipes that stretch to the ceiling were inspired by the transparent buildings with only pipes and conduits visible that appear in Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible City. Erlich describes reimagining these elements as the “veins of an invisible life form.” The endlessly stretching tubes evoke a spirit-like being that has existed here from long ago, connecting the lives and history of the local population with the newly reborn Shiroiya Hotel as a symbol of the city.