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MARIA FERNANDA CARDOSO  (b. 1963, Colombia)

“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


On the Origins of Art, Sicardi | Ayers | Bacino, Houston, TX, USA


While I Live I Will Grow,Green Square Community and Cultural Precinct, Sydney, Australia


Timeline - Apología a lo perecedero - Casas Riegner Gallery, Bogota


The Art Of Seduction, ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne, VIC


Naked FloraAdelaide Biennale of Australian ArtThe Jam Factory. Adelaide, Australia


Undressing a Flower, Bill Wright Gallery, Sydney, Australia


Órganos Instromitentes, Galería Casas- RIegner, Bogotá, Colombia


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


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


It’s Not Size That Matters, It Is Shape, ARC One Gallery, Melbourne, Australia


Masters of Disguise, Freemantle Arts Centre, Freemantle, Australia


Organos intromitentes, Galeria Casas-Riegner, Bogotá, Colombia


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


Emu Wear, Definitely Superior Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Canada


Emu Wear, GRANTPIRRIE Gallery, Sydney, Australia


Mimicry, Berenice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami, FL, USA


Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne, Australia


Fashion and Mimesis, Definitely Superior Gallery, Thunder Bay, Canada (Performance)


Emu Wear, Berenice Steinbaum Gallery, Miami, FL, USA (Performance)


Emu Wear, Casula Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia (Performance)


Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Galeria Casas-Riegner, Bogotá, Colombia


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


Emu Next 5km, GRANTPIRRIE Gallery, Sydney, Australia


Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA


Maria Fernanda Cardoso, GRANTPIRRIE Gallery, Sydney, Australia


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


Cara de Buseta (Bus Face), Galeria Diners, Bogotá, Colombia


Cara de Buseta (Bus Face), Casas-Riegner, Miami, FL, USA


ZOOmorphia, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, Australia


BIOgometries (BIOgeometras), Latincollector, New York, NY, USA


Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Galeria Diners, Bogotá, Colombia 


Sheep, Artspace, Sydney; Art Museum of the Americas, Washington D.C., USA


Butterfly Drawings, Galeria Casas-Riegner, Miami, FL, USA


Dibujos de Mariposas (Butterfly Drawings), Galeria Diners, Bogotá, Colombia 


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


Esculturas (Sculptures), Galería Sala Alternativa, Caracas, Venezuela 


Cardoso Flea Circus Live, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland (Performance)


Cardoso Flea Circus Live, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Festival, Australia (Performance)


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


Cardoso Flea Circus Live, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Quartier D’ete, Paris, France (Performance)


Cardoso Flea Circus Live, Awesome International Children’s Festival, Perth, Australia (Performance)


Cardoso Flea Circus Live, Arts Festival Atlanta, GA, USA (Performance)


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


Love Down Under, Haines Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USA


Cardoso Flea Circus Live, The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Cardoso Flea Circus Live, San Francisco Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA, USA


Submarine Landscape, Capp Street Project, San Francisco, CA, USA


Woven Water, Ruth Bloom Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, USA


Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Recent Sculptures, MIT List Visual Art Center, Cambridge, MA, USA


Cemetery, Chapman University, Orange County, CA, USA


Gold, Nohra Haime Gallery, New York, NY, USA


Calabazas (Gourds), San Francisco Artspace, San Francisco, CA, USA


Botuto Guarura (Gourds), Sala Alternativa, Caracas, Venezuela


El Marmol Americano (American Marble), Ruth Bloom Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Obra Reciente (Recent Work), Galeria Garcés y Velasquez, Bogotá, Colombia 


Nuevos Nombres (New Names), Casa de La Moneda, Bogotá, Colombia 

Selected Public Collections

Artbank, Australia

The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia

Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia

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

The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, 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

Pérez Art Museum, Miami Beach, FL, USA

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

Tate Modern, London, UK