The residency program Proyecto T welcomes Mandy Cano to create a series of works that will be part of her solo show “Carnivore”. Mandy Cano was raised by a single in the army. Her childhood was a succession of army bases and new schools that lead to a lack of locational and generational belonging. In the search of permanence, Cano became a collector of old photos, discarded books, folktales, broken toys, scratched records, Greek myths, and anything that could provide a larger human narrative in which the artist could situate her own story. These second-hand memories became her surrogate home.
For Carnívora, Mandy Cano has created a body of work that spans assemblage, sculpture, textiles and fine craft. Her materials include broken toys, fake flowers, orphan socks, bottle caps, deflated balloons, human hair, candy wrappers, and other remnants of everyday life. From these discarded objects, she crafts opulent pieces that reference Baroque décor, homemade ofrendas, and rampant consumerism. Cano’s resurrected refuse questions our culture’s values, and the histories that have constructed our global present.
The artist’s process is also significant. She meticulously arranges objects to the minutest detail. Many unassuming small pieces take weeks and sometimes months to complete. Each work is a vestige of touch, time, and skill – qualities overlooked by a society that prizes efficiency and instant gratification. Cano is equally attentive to the design of her pieces. She juxtaposes objects, such as luchador figures and plastic flowers, to speak to conventions of gender and domesticity. Her subtle decisions offer a quiet protest to relational power plays.
Cano’s intimate practice transfers to the audience. Viewers recognize familiar items from childhood, or the leftover packages thoughtlessly discarded after use. What was once taken for granted is now a thing of unattainable desire. That is the core of Carnívora. Cano’s fusion of the sacred and mundane reveals our hunger for both. Perhaps somewhere in the mingling of high and low, we will be able to fulfill our desire and, perhaps, find a sense of home.