Art critique

Yvette Mayorga’s sweet cake decorations reveal a grim critique of surveillance and consumerism

Polly Pocket’s mansion is under surveillance. Small soldiers infiltrate its corridors, crouching in front of the doors and under the stairs. They are the vigilant figures of the militarized US-Mexico border, whom Yvette criticizes in much of her work. The border played an important role in her childhood as she crossed it when moving between her home in the Midwest and her family in Mexico. Equally interested in exploring colonial legacies in Mexico’s art history, a second look at the structures of Surveillance Medallion reveals that it is mixed with a critique of excess and overconsumption.

We can also attribute the sugary aesthetic to Yvette’s “guilty obsession” with TV cake shows and Instagram reels. “Cake decorating is a really laborious job,” she adds. The artist pumps piping bags with acrylic paint before applying it directly to the canvas. This is what gives his works their “sculptural” aspect, explains the artist, “sometimes there are more than 20 layers of thick paint”. Although she rarely turns to using a brush, when she does, “it’s for a good reason,” she says.

Yvette’s dreamlike worlds will grace the walls of many galleries and exhibition spaces this year, but she’s particularly excited about her first set of public artworks which will be installed and on permanent display at the airport’s Terminal 5. O’Hare International later this year. Terminal 5 has a special symbolic meaning for Yvette. Spending several hours there waiting for flights represents an “in-between space” between her home in America and her parents’ homeland in Mexico. While she can’t reveal much about the project, she tells us that we should expect something “very pink, sumptuous, decadent and surreal”.