February 13, 2017—Hyperallergic

An Artist Excavates the Past Lives of a Gallery’s Building

By Monica Uszerowicz, Photo by Francesco Casale

For the space’s first official long-term exhibition — following a soft opening during Miami Art Week over a year ago — the work of Leyla Cárdenas makes sense. During the past several years, the Colombian-born artist has examined the physical and historical layers of the spaces in which she works, studying their fragments and the experiences lived therein. The results are sculptural — the room itself becoming a kind of tableau of its own history — and the visual revelations are often forgotten narratives. How, she asks, does architecture conceal or expose a city’s detritus?

The Wolfson/Centre Gallery was vital to the city and to Latin American artists around the globe, as it was primarily dedicated to showcasing works by artists from Black and Latino communities and provided a cultural center for Miami-Dade students. Cárdenas pays tribute to this legacy, of which DV is now a part, with Vice Versa, an exhibition named named for how she works backward through history: stripping layers to bring the buried to the surface, revealing the significance of a space’s skin.