“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.
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
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 , NY, USA
Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Sicardi Gallery, Houston , TX, USA
2004: 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 , MA, USA
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).
SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
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.