Louis 21 announces with great enthusiasm the first solo exhibition by Alejandro Leonhardt (Puerto Varas, Chile, 1985). Through a meticulous mise-en-scène, the artist critically unfolds the perception of a series of ordinary objects found in his urban drifts, articulating with them minimal installations in which the elements that configure them are deprived from their conventional meaning. The functional design of the objects is compromised to give another interpretation of the real, through a measured spatial control and a patent ironical dimension.
The Chilean artist alters the characteristics of the objects, whose meaning becomes suspended as they are not immediately recognised, depurated from their inheritance as commodities. The playful and instigative process of the author seeks to reveal the essence of the object beyond its specific function.
What we see becomes an indeterminate matter, in metalinguistically pure forms, whose unre- solved ambiguity emphasizes the hidden possibilities of the real. Leonhardt operates from the field of the transformative decisions to increase the perception and multiply the interpretations.
“‘I think in the beginning she was just fooling around”, that is how Sol LeWitt commented a series of small “test pieces” by Eva Hesse. This dimension of playful experiment and formal enjoyment that flirts with the absurd is a leitmotiv that runs through this exhibition by Alejandro Leonhardt, exemplified in the text written by the artist directly onto the gallery wall: “I went up the hill to my house, I saw on the ground a stick with a nail half-pinned. I came closer to it, it was a dead mouse with a stiff tail.”
The gaze of the artist acts from the dimension of leisure, a generational factor that we unders- tand, as a start, as “total boredom”. However, this spiritual dimension, becomes something opposed to a mechanical passivity. It is more a mental state in constant observation. James S. Ackerman, speaking about De Vita solitaria by Francesco Petrarca, wrote: “The book opposes the frantic pursue by the urban ambitions and professions (negotium) to the peace and potential personal realisation of the work in the countryside (otium)”. Leonhardt ́s urban wanders undou- btedly relate to pursuing new potentialities, escaping from the easy conventionalisms, in order to overcome the everyday hustle and bustle, enslaved by a pointless utilitarianism.