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María Fernanda Cardoso in María Fernanda Cardoso: Spiders of Paradise

María Fernanda Cardoso, Spiders of Paradise - Maratus plumosus, 2023. Pigment print on premium photo paper, 152 x 152 x 4 cm

Maria Fernanda Cardoso is internationally renowned for using unconventional and organic materials to consider nature and its links to culture and science. Working across sculpture, photography, installation, video and performance, her work examines the connections and tensions between society and the natural world.

Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Spiders of Paradise presents new works from Cardoso’s Spiders of Paradise photographic series (2018–ongoing), alongside her acclaimed video work On the Origins of Art I-II (2016). Cardoso’s subject is the tiny Australian Maratus spider – measuring less than 5mm in size – and their unique, brightly-coloured abdomens, which form part of their elaborate mating rituals. Across a suite of large-scale photographs, the exquisite multi-coloured patterns of various species of Maratus are presented as individual portraits. Produced in collaboration with scientific imager Geoff Thompson and entomologist Andy Wang from the Queensland Museum, each image is comprised of over 1000 individual photos, which together reveal stunning nuances of colour and form in incredible detail.

Cardoso’s video On the Origins of Art I-II presents the complex courtship ritual of the Maratus at an immersive scale. It showcases the spiders’ sophisticated communication through dance and vibration, culminating in the display of their colourful patterned abdominal flap. Bringing together science, art and nature, this exhibition celebrates the beauty of the natural world and reveals the sophisticated lives of creatures not usually witnessed.

Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Spiders of Paradise is an exhibition developed and toured by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.