By Elizabeth Fortescue
MARIA Fernanda Cardoso is well and truly over any embarrassment about the identity of the strangely beautiful but rather odd-shaped objects she will present at the 18th Biennale of Sydney, which opens in June.
Having discussed the objects with scientists all over the world, Cardoso is sanguine about the fact they are sculptural enlargements of the male reproductive organs of various types of mites, spiders, snails and stick insects.
Titled P-Museum (short for Penis Museum), the work will be displayed on Cockatoo Island. As well as sculptures, the work includes video. Cardoso created it in collaboration with Ross Harley.
The work’s inclusion in the Biennale was revealed yesterday at the Art Gallery of NSW, where Gerald McMaster unveiled the list of artists he and fellow artistic director Catherine de Zegher had chosen worldwide.
Cardoso says flowers are the sexual organs of plants, and no one is fazed by those.
“It’s the most beautiful part of the plant,” she says.
But taboo still haunts the scientific study of insect penises.
The Biennale attracted more than 517,000 visitors in 2010. Major venues will be the Art Gallery of NSW, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay and Cockatoo Island.
Biennale of Sydney, June 27-September 16, free, bos18.com.au