Leyla Cardenas’ work engages with notions of absence, memory, destruction, accumulation and mutability through extractive processes that culminate in large-scale, delicate installations that render perceptible the elusive idea of time. Addressing the weight, length, and accumulation of time, Cardenas’ practice involves the removal of strata from surfaces of old, unattended buildings, and the subsequent reconstruction of fragments that afford evidence of an obliterated past. In an act of resistance against oblivion, Cardenas embraces destruction by literally bringing to the exhibition space layers of time and history that inevitably reshape the present.
The project Excision arises from a profound reflection on the visible and invisible effects of destruction in the name of Bogotá’s urban renewal and redevelopment, leading the artist to incidentally encounter an 1880s house built during the Colombian Republican Period. Although in the midst of being demolished, this historical house became a valuable repository of raw material referencing the nation’s reconstitution process and consequent failed attempts at modernizing. Like an archeologist uncovering a site, Cardenas extracts fragments from the building’s dissimilar surfaces like walls, ceilings, floors and even furniture pieces that refer back to diverse aspects of the city’s memory and erased identity. In an attempt to emulate the house’s glorious past, the artist creates a delicate sculpture from recollected and restored fragments that while acting as an embodiment of a long lost backdrop, it poignantly reminds us of the importance of preserving a historic urban fabric.
[Art Positions] at Art Basel-Miami 2012
*THE HOUSE IN AND AS CONTEMPORARY ART: ARTICLE
Plaster, recovered wallpaper, peeled paint, wood furniture, steel
Measurements: 4.50mts x 3.20mts x 12 cms aprox.
courtesy of the artist and West Collection
©photo: Sebastiano Pellion