Leandro Erlich’s Architectural Creations Question Our Perception of the Real

In Kanazawa, the contemporary artist constructed a strange staircase that defies gravity, questioning the absurdity of the everyday.


WordsLou Tsatsas

© Leandro Erlich

‘Japan has always been a major source of inspiration for me. I’ve had the opportunity to create several permanent installations there over the past twenty years. The country offers a truly new and surprising dimension that is entirely different to the West, and indeed the rest of Asia’, explains Leandro Erlich. The contemporary artist became known in 2001 thanks to his work Swimming Pool, an illusory pool that was presented at the Venice Biennale and can now be found in the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa.

This early creation is emblematic of his aesthetic. Originally from Argentina, the auteur now lives between his country of birth and Paris. Fascinated by architecture and surrealism, he constantly examines material existence by constructing trompe-l’œils, illusions and inversions that encourage the public to question their own universe.


A new perspective

Infinite Staircase, presented as part of the inaugural exhibition at the KAMU Kanazawa museum, offers a hallucinatory dive into an absurd construction. ‘This installation offers visitors a new perspective when faced with a construction we all know. It’s a familiar element that becomes an entirely new experience’, the artist explains. At 3.5 metres wide, 3 metres high, and 7 metres deep, these stairs are presented like a spiral, lying on the floor. This is an immersive experience for the public who are free to go inside and lose themselves in this architecture of the absurd.

Within this creation, the laws of gravity no longer seem to function. Bodies appear upside-down and move straight through this inverted space. A real puzzle, Infinite Staircase invites the strange into our reality and blurs the boundaries between dreams and the concrete world. By encouraging visitors to enter and explore this optical illusion, Leandro Erlich also provokes a philosophical reflection and makes them face up to the absurdity of their own existence. This architectural work is worthy of standing alongside his remarkable Swimming Pool.


KAMU, Infinite Staircase (2020) can be viewed on the KAMU museum website.

© Leandro Erlich

© Leandro Erlich

© Leandro Erlich