In 2020 Cárdenas created HOME, an artist’s book/installation, exhibited in 2021 at Grafik i Väst Gallery in Gothenburg, Sweden during her XI solo exhibition.
The series A LONG WALK HOME, 2022 resonates with the narratives of belonging, earth, mutualism and loss of home. Her mindful creative process is an antidote for dislocation, experienced when we are born in one place but live in another.
POLYPORES I – XI: Alone, Anger, Beginning, Close, Courage, Despair, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Memory, Self-knowledge, Touch, book objects, m.m. (fungi, handmade papers, bible pages, hemp, stitches, handwriting), multiple dimensions, 2022For Cárdenas, walking among the trees brings her the closest to home. Her hiking rituals started more than 20 years ago in Norway and continued in South Korea, the U.S.A. and Sweden. She started collecting polypores in the woodlands and created a series of book objects, each unique. Materials fused to create the Polypores are: ink, handwriting, oriental papers, hemp, stitches and Spanish bible pieces reminiscent of her native country, Ecuador.
Polypores are a fascinating group of fungi displaying beautiful fractals in natural ecosystems. They are slow decomposers of wood, recyclers of nutrients and minerals that can be used by other organisms. They are used in biotechnology, as natural dyes for wool and in oriental herbal medicine.
While creating Polypores I to XI the artist read Consolations by David Whyte, naming each book after some of the chapters such as: Alone, Anger, Beginning, Close, Courage, Despair, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Memory, Self-knowledge, Touch.
The book objects are part of a larger scale installation in progress. Some pieces show ink calligraphy scripts repeating the words “no mind,” a Zen expression equivalent to being present. The meditative calligraphy reminds us of her 2019 series The Quiet Thread, shown at her X solo exhibition in Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
PAPER HOMES, objects, various sizes approx. 28,5 x 40 x 4 cm each, m. m. (ink, handwriting, handmade paper, pages from 1800’s Swedish Royal Announcements, stitches), 2021-2023
MEDICATING, MEDITATING AND MENDING THE MIND, installation made of objects, various sizes approx. 28,5 x 40 x 5 cm each, m.m. (handmade paper, anti-depressants, stitches), 2022-2023In this installation the artist stitches anti-depressants of various kinds to handmade paper forms that remind us of rectangular shaped homes. She sees her work as a metaphor for mending or repairing the mind and, at the same time, as an ode to the resilience and fragility of the human spirit.
It’s well known that antidepressants frequently rank among the most prescribed medications in both the US and Europe; they help many people to recover from illness but can also be indicative of the state of society’s mental health. The artist wants to open dialogue about mental health in our times and the importance not to rely entirely on medications. She continues to bring awareness about the increasing interest in the therapeutic intervention of mindfulness in mental health.