“I do not subscribe to human superiority, and I am in awe with the world of the small.”
- Maria Fernanda Cardoso
Well known contemporary artist Maria Fernanda Cardoso is recognised for her unconventional use of materials and the strong influence of animal life on her practice. In The Art of Seduction, Cardoso looks at the complex behaviour of miniscule animals to explore notions of sexual selection and how that might relate to our aesthetic sense.
With her playful and absorbing video installation, On the Origins of Art I & II, Cardoso reveals the visual displays, sounds and choreographic performances of the tiniest and most talented Australian jumping spiders of the Maratus family, popularly known as ‘peacock spiders’. These creatures, which measure to only 3-5mm in reality, are delightfully theatrical in their dance to seduce a mate. Vibrant, comical and performative, in this work Cardoso asserts that these too- small-to-be-seen animals are artists in their own right.
The video and sound installation is accompanied by a series of large-scale photographic prints, where Cardoso’s ‘artists’ are captured in virtuosic detail. Engaging the creative terrain between science, art and nature, The Art of Seduction champions the remarkable beauty of the natural world and reveals to us the sophisticated lives of creatures usually unseen.
This body of work represented Australia in the Cuenca Biennial, and the video installation was shown at MONA’s groundbreaking exhibition, On the Origins of Art, both in 2016.