Unspeakable Dreams, Smothering Desires
Carmen Mardonez solo exhibition
curated by Marisa Caichiolo at Bergamot Station Arts Center
November 2022- February 2023
Throughout the month of November, Building Bridges Art Exchange will be hosting the textile exhibition “Unspeakable Dreams, Smothering Desires,” a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based Chilean artist Carmen Mardonez. Through a stunning art installation of 30 recycled bed sheets and over 50 used pillow covers, the art installation will usher art lovers into a dream-like world of healing. This Chilean LA-based artist has created a dreamy paradise, a painterly quality textile, with the support of her family members in the past few months. To this end, she invited community members to share their deepest dreams and desires with her and created a safe space where each dream and desire was embroidered into tens of discarded sheets and pillow covers. In order to facilitate collective healing, she serves her community by offering them the opportunity to relive their deepest desires and dreams.
One of the exhibit’s main installations is a dream-like colorful cocoon that visitors step into to sense the feminine energy connected with our planet and inter-connected through the threads embroidered into discarded bed sheets. There is something mysterious and poetic about this process, as the artist points out. On exiting this intimate experience, visitors will be guided and invited to explore the second installation, which is a powerful Dream Wall that represents the dreams and desires of the community as a whole.
In Mardonez’s own words, “embroidering is like opening a portal to the suppressed and liberating the repressed. It’s a powerful exorcism. The process and the product are cathartic and enveloping. With every stitch, there is a new emergence, something organic coming to life from nothing, constructing its niche,overpopulating the surroundings, mutating in unpredictable ways.” “Dreams and desires that are let to go out become overwhelming on their own... but in ways worth suffering and dealing with,” she adds.
There is an invitation by the artist to the viewers to imagine and fantasize about ways to survive the anthropogenic catastrophe that is coming, as well as to consider how our irrepressible desires for creation and liberation might open a new path for us --a path with a bright end or beginning. In the end, she calls on us all to set free our dreams and desires in order to achieve them.
To book an appointment to visit Building Bridges, open on Thursdays and Saturdays, go to
“I still recall the first time I saw Mardonez’s large textile objects and wall installations, as well as the way she combines her domestic labor and motherhood routines into creating her pieces ––I was completely moved and blown away by her purposeful art, for it helps her to maintain order in both her house and her life. Furthermore, I immediately knew that she was one of the female textile artists from our local community that I wanted to support through BBAX’s Healing in Community Program,” said Caichiolo.
This exhibition was possible thanks to the CAP Grant from the City of Santa Monica.
About Carmen Mardonez: Carmen Mardonez (1988) is a Chilean textile artist living in Los Angeles since 2017. Her artwork seeks to radically reimagine intimate spaces of memories, dreams, and discovery, exploring variations around traditional embroidery by combining oversized formats, textile sculpture and the recovery of textile waste. Carmen studied History and Arts in the Catholic University of Chile, a master’s degree in Community Psychology at the University of Chile, and has training on art therapy and traditional knitting on horsehair. Her artwork has been exhibited in Brea Gallery and SoLa Gallery, among others, and her practice has been supported by scholarships and grants from "All She Makes", "Repaint History", and "Not Real Art". Recently she has been part of several exhibitions, local and nationally and was part of the Blue Roof program and artists in residence.
About Marisa Caichiolo: Marisa Caichiolo is an artist and curator who studied art history and curatorial studies, she holds a PhD in art history and psychology. Her researchfocuses primarily on the impact on social and political changes in society. Her curatorial projects have been shown internationally, including MUSA Museum of Arts of the University of Guadalajara (Mexico); Kirchner Cultural Center, Buenos Aires, (Argentina); DOX Center for ContemporaryArts, Prague (Czech Republic); Frost Science Museum, Miami (USA); PVAC PalosVerdes Art Center, Palos Verdes (California); Building Bridges Art Foundation,Los Angeles (California); KATARA Cultural Center, Doha (Qatar); Sharjah Museum of Contemporary Art, Dubai (United Arab Emirates); Anaheim Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center, Anaheim (California); Telefónica Art Foundation, Santiago (Chile); among others. She was part of the curatorial team for several international biennials, such as the Casablanca Biennale, Morocco; Sharjah Biennale, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Biennial of the Americas,Denver, Colorado; Detras del Muro/Cuban Biennial, Cuba, among others. She is also an active board member for Bugatti Foundation, Italy;
Now Art LA, Los Angeles; and the Advisory Board of the DAP Program at The Broad, Los Angeles.