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

Yvette’s piped dream worlds will grace the walls of many galleries and exhibition spaces this year, but she’s particularly excited about her first public artwork set to be installed and permanently displayed at Terminal 5 of O’Hare International airport later this year. Terminal 5 has particular symbolic significance for Yvette. Spending many an hour there waiting for flights, it represents an “in-between space” between her home in America and her parents homeland of Mexico. While she can’t give away much about the project, she tells us to expect something “very pink, sumptuous, decadent and surrealist”.
We can also attribute the sugary aesthetics to Yvette’s “guilty obsession” with TV cake shows and Instagram reels. “Cake decorating is a true craft that is super laborious”, she adds. The artist pumps piping bags with acrylic paint before applying it directly onto the canvas. This is what gives her works their “sculptural” appearance, the artist explains, “there are sometimes 20 plus layers of thick-ass paint”. While she rarely turns to the use of a paintbrush, when she does, “it’s for a good reason”, she says.
The Polly Pocket mansion is under surveillance. Toy soldiers infiltrate its halls, crouching in doorways and underneath staircases. These are the vigilant figures of the militarised US/Mexico border, which Yvette critiques in much of her work. The border played an important role in her childhood as she would cross it when moving between her home in the Midwest and visiting family in Mexico. Equally interested in exploring colonial legacies in Mexico’s art history, a second look at the structures in Surveillance Locket reveals that it is laced with a critique about excess and overconsumption.

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