Supported by Galería Xippas

Leandro Erlich (b. 1973) lives and works between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Between 1998 and 1999 he was a part of Core Program, an artist-in-residence program in Houston, Texas. He then moved to New York and made his first exhibition in a commercial New York gallery. In 2000, he participated in the Whitney Biennale and represented Argentina in the 49th Venice Biennale (2001). He lived and worked in Paris for a few years, then came back to Buenos Aires. He has participated in many collective exhibitions and art biennales worldwide. His work can be found in private and public collections around the world.


Traffic Lights: Civilization or Barbarism

We consider the traffic light a central feature of modern life, its three colors a fixture of the urban landscape. Originally a technological marvel, these everyday companions govern the human flux through major cities and towns. As simple as they appear, without them we would be at sea, lost in a sea of traffic. Daily, we stop and go in response to their changing colors, in passive synch with their signals. This installation reimagines the traffic light within the rural town of Garz n (where there are no stoplights nor any need for them), referencing the famous title of Domingo Sarmiento’s Facundo: Civilization and Barbarism. Sarmiento’s landmark work juxtaposed European cosmopolitanism and education with what Sarmiento considered the barbarous and savage wilds of the Argentine Pampa and its caudillos. Traffic Lights playfully invites us to reflect on the signposts and conventions of modernity, not to mention the knots we humans tie ourselves in through supposed ingenuity. It is both comic and poignant, a reminder of our shared absurdity.