The Wonderful World of Professor Cardoso

A unique insight into the work of Sydney College of the Arts PhD candidate, Maria Fernanda Cardoso, will be shown on Artscape's The Wonderful World of Professor Cardoso on ABC1 on Tuesday 24 April, at 10.05pm.


Cardoso, an intriguing Colombian-born artist now living in Sydney, is also a graduate of Yale University. Cardoso’s fascination with life and sex has led her to blend art and science in her investigation of entomological sex and the copulatory organs of many small creatures.

Artscape looks at this amazing woman’s work as she prepares for an exhibition featuring photographs, footage and 3D models of insect genitalia entitled It's Not Size That Matters, It Is Shape.

Cardoso says of insect penises “I was really amazed when I found these beautiful shapes; it changed my whole perception of the world”.

Currently undertaking a PhD at SCA, the exhibition featured on Artscape is part of a PhD project titled Museum of Copulatory Organs or MoCo for short.

Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, Director of Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art is highly complimentary of Cardoso’s work, saying “The interesting thing about Maria is that she takes a topic like an animal penis and she teaches us something about it... I don’t think anyone has explored this topic over such a long period of time with such intensity.”

Cardoso’s mark was made as an artist in the mid 90’s when she created Professor Cardoso’s Flea Circus, featuring real fleas performing real tricks; trapeze artists, high divers and the odd flea funeral when there was an accident.


Following the circus, Cardoso was informed of the flea’s unique mating habits, leading her to investigate how things work for other animals. The MoCo project has been commended for attempting an installation of this kind and bringing something so different to the fore.

Maria Fernanda Cardoso and Ross Rudesch Harley have been invited to participate in the 2012 Biennale of Sydney All Our Relations, where they will premiere the Museum of Copulatory Organs.

Cardoso says, "For me, the most interesting part of being in the Biennale is the huge audience the work will have. I am also really keen on the location of my project, at Building 123 in Cockatoo Island. I love the fact that the piece will be part of a wonderful experience: going by ferry to the island, exploring around, and the project being discovered in the context of fun mixed with intellectual and aesthetic pursuits."

What: The Wonderful World of Professor Cardoso
When: Tuesday 24 April, 10.05pm
Where: Artscape, ABC1

Image: (top) Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Intromitent organs of the Allabunus distincta harvestman, 2008-2009, resin, glass and metal.