Argentine artist Leandro Erlich—known for wowing viewers with eye-defying installations—has created a new set of temporary artworks at Paris’s Le Bon Marché. Titled “Sous le ciel” (after a famous Edith Piaf song meaning “Under the sky of Paris”), Erlich transformed the iconic department store into a fantastic world of clouds, light, and upended reality.
The experience begins outside with store windows filled with fluffy floating clouds. The motif continues within, where large sections of the store’s glass roof have been replaced with screens showing wispy white clouds scudding across a blue sky. The light in the space also changes depending on the time and season.
But the most eye-popping aspect of Erlich’s installation is a whimsical re-skinning of the store’s signature gridded escalators to appear as though they’ve been tied in an enormous pretzel knot between floors. The result is a playful, welcome intrusion of artistic invention into the realm of commerce.
“Disrupting perception of the environment is not a goal in itself,” explained Erlich. “I am rather trying to make the public wonder whether what they see is real or not. Unlike a conjurer, I like to show the threads, reveal the special effects.”