Maria Fernanda Cardosoborn 1963, Colombia
Maria Fernanda Cardoso

“The world has worlds within worlds, both smaller and bigger.”


As a child, María Fernanda Cardoso took long nature walks with her father. Carrying a magnifying glass, Cardoso would look closely at plants and insects, studying their intricacies. These walks sparked her curiosity about the natural world and trained her powers of observation. Throughout her career, she has continued to explore nature and its links to culture and science. Curator Carolina Ponce de León writes, “Cardoso’s installations, sculptures and videos seek to unravel the parodies, paradoxes and complexities that appear in the joints where cultural systems overlap.”


In the early 1980s, Cardoso studied architecture and the visual arts at the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. In 1987, she moved to New York to attend the Graduate Sculpture Program at Pratt Institute, and in 1990, she completed her MFA in Sculpture at Yale University. Her early projects make use of preserved animals such as lizards, starfish, earthworms, frogs, and snakes arranged in intricate, abstract compositions reminiscent of pre-Colombian forms. Other installations include flowers and stones turned into vertical gardens and funerary wreaths.


The Cardoso Flea Circus (1994-2000) was a six-year series of performances and installations in which Cardoso trained fleas to perform tasks and surprising feats of strength. She performed the Cardoso Flea Circus internationally, at venues including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Sydney Opera House, Centre Georges Pompidou, Arts Festival Atlanta, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, and the San Francisco Exploratorium. In 2003, she represented Colombia for the Venice Biennale. Cardoso moved to Sydney, Australia in 1997 and she currently lives and works there. In 2012, she received her PhD from Sydney College for the Arts.



2013: Undressing a Flower, Bill Wright Gallery, Sydney, Australia

Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Colección de Arte del Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia

2012: 18th Biennale of Sydney, Museum of Copulatory Organs (MoCO), Sydney, Australia (Performance)

2011: It's not size that matters, it is shape, ARC One Gallery, Melbourne, Australia

Masters of Disguise, Freemantle Arts Centre, Freemantle, Australia

2010: Emu Wear, Rodman Centre for the Arts, Brock University, Ontario
, Canada

2006: Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Death Becomes Her, Chelsea Art Museum, New York

Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Sicardi Gallery, Houston

 Maria Fernanda Cardoso: 20 Años, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá
, Colombia

2003: ZOOmorphia, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney
, Australia

2000: Cardoso Flea Circus, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), Houston, TX, USA (Installation)

1998: Cardoso Flea Circus, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY, USA (Video installation)

1996: Cardoso Flea Circus, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia
, PA, USA (Installation)

1994: Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Recent Sculptures, MIT List Art Center, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Cambridge


Cardoso’s work has also been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including Project Video, Sicardi Gallery, Houston (2013); Dead or Alive, Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2010); Arte No Es Vida: Actions by Artists of the Americas, 1960-2000, Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, Houston, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico DF, and El Museo del Barrio, New York (2008-2010); Constructing a Poetic Universe: The Diane and Bruce Halle Collection of Latin American Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2007); TRANSactions: Contemporary Latin American and Latino Art, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2006); IV Bienal del Mercosur, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2003); Cardoso Flea Circus, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Buenos Aires (2003); and Ultra Baroque: Aspects of Post-Latin American Art (many venues, 2003).


Her videos have been shown at many diverse film festivals, including the Second Annual Video Marathon, Art in General, New York, New York (2000);
 Festival.Medianale, Berlin Film Festival (1998);
 Philadelphia International Film, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1998); 
AV-arkki, Helsinki, Finland (1998);
 Montreal International Festival of New Cinema and New Media (1998);
 and VideoBrasil, São Paulo, Brazil (1998).



Arts Centre Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia

Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia

Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, USA

Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), Miami, FL, USA

Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Caracas, Venezuela

Daros Latinamerica, Zürich, Switzerland

The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL, USA

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Bogotá, Colombia

Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia

Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA, USA

Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Houston, TX, USA

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, USA

Tate Gallery, London, UK


For full CV please download the PDF below.

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EXHIBITIONS Maria Fernanda Cardoso

Maria Fernanda Cardoso & Harl...

Contemporary Drawing
EXHIBITIONS Mirando la flor
Cardoso, Glassford, Muñoz, Rí...
NEWS Maria Fernanda Cardoso and Liliana...
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexi...
NEWS Maria Fernanda Cardoso at the Museum of...
Exhibition On the Origin of Ar...
NEWS Cardoso, Muñoz, Rojas
Kunstmuseum Bochum
NEWS Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Queensland Centre for Photogr...
NEWS María Fernanda Cardoso
Museum of Contemporary Art Aus...
NEWS Cardoso, Muñoz, Rojas
Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro
NEWS Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery a...
NEWS Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Victorian College of the Arts,...
NEWS Miguel Ángel Rojas and María Fernanda...
Conversations in Colombia: H...
NEWS Cardoso, Ferrari, Muñoz, Porter, Ríos,...
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
NEWS María Fernanda Cardoso
Blacktown Arts Centre
NEWS Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Green Square, Sydney, Australi...
NEWS Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Magdalena...
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houst...
PUBLICATIONS Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Inventario 20 años
PUBLICATIONS Maria Fernanda Cardoso
PRESS Maria Fernanda Cardoso | NY Times
April 29, 2010
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PRESS Maria Fernanda Cardoso | Antennae
Autumn 2009
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PRESS Maria Fernanda Cardoso | World Art
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TEXTS SOUTH: Contemporary Art from Australia,...

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TEXTS Fish Out of Water

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