Mónica Mays

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Blue Velvet Projects

For Liste Showtime 2023, Blue Velvet Projects is pleased to present a solo presentation by artist Mónica Mays.

Mónica’s work combines autobiography, material process and historical archive. Her pieces are composed of assemblages taking the shape of animated domestic objects that are spilling over, optically distorted or in a process of transmutation. She considers materials and objects through their circulation and reproduction under consumer systems of production and exchange. This approach is conceptualized through the neobaroque, a logic of excessiveness, ornamentation and exu ...

In her current work series presented at Liste, Mónica explores forms of reproduction that might sit outside of nuclear family structures, industrial means of production, efficiency and futurity, and the violence that these logics impose on different bodies. Mays explores these ideas through a close engagement with the life cycle of the bombyx mori silk moth - an organic reproductive process that has been irrevocably altered by human intervention, domestication and industrialization.

In order to fully extract a silk thread for use in textiles, silk moth cocoons must be boiled in o ...

Shadow boxes beds dogo
Shadow Boxes, Shadow Beds, installation view, 2022


Mónica Mays Buttermilk EXHIBITION VIEW
Mónica Mays, Buttermilk, 2023, Blue Velvet Projects, exhibition view
Mónica Mays Buttermilk EXHIBITION VIEW
Mónica Mays, Buttermilk, 2023, Blue Velvet Projects, exhibition view

“In Buttermilk Mónica reprises the use of the unprocessed silkworm cocoon as an analogic refrain. Mays delivers a sculptural variation on taxidermy, exploiting the necessary contradictions of production and preservation as they relate to the generative and ironic pleasures of reproduction.

Pieces of furniture enter Mays’ studio as readymades and emerge as containers. Categories in general become disputable at her hands, as objects dispel into one another. The central sculptural group sees assemblages of salvaged woodwork tangled with “bodies,” each following a uni ...

“There is a strange familiarity to the objects that inhabit Monica May’s work. At first glance, they seem to belong to the visual vocabulary and bodily experience that we have inherited from our daily lives. But quickly, the seemingly decipherable features give way to a set of enigmatic configurations that disrupt the expected “behaviors” of these things. Careful combinations and juxtapositions of shapes, found objects and materials guarantee that the pieces exist in a well-calculated limbo between the familiar and the uncanny. The objects cease to be domesticated and become quasi-creatures ...

Nail that Stems

Monica Felix Metritis
Open me Close me, from Nail that Stems, 2022

“In Monica Mays’ Nail that Stems, the silk industry’s extractive act of unwinding, straightening and singularising a thread can be seen refracted across a plurality of materials and references, and series of concurrent historical processes clustered around industrial modes of production; nonhuman domestication, linear pictorial perspective, reproductive labour and identity. Much like the enzymes of the bombyx mori, Mays is interested in the potential of breakages in linear extrapolation - as points where multiple paths, disoriented perspectives and, potentially, egress fro ...


Mónica Mays lives and works in Madrid and Amsterdam. Her practice involves sculpture, installation and performance. Having studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of New Orleans, she graduated from the École Superieure des Arts Décoratifs in Strasbourg in 2015 and received an MA from the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam in 2017. She has developed projects in artistic residencies such as Rupert (LT), Fundación Bilbao Arte (ES) and Matadero (ES). Her works have been exhibited in spaces such as the Frascatti Theater (NL), Tallinn Art Hall (EE), Centro Centro (ES), KUBUS (DE), La Casa Encendida (E ...