‘Los Cachos’ work series

-‘Cacho’ (colloquial Spanish): piece, slice, bit, portion.   /   -In Latin, Detritus: Disintegrated material.

This series follows the conceptual principles of the ‘Natural History’ series, but it also takes a particular approach to environmental conservation. In past decades, considerable effort has been put into disguising the biological origin of most animal products. The double fragmentation of these works -that of the drawing into independent papers and the formal fragmentation of the depicted species- references the waste product of industrial seafood processing. The paintings aim to bring forward the biological identity of the organisms behind the market good.

Upper left: Preparatory drawing for two decomposing heads of Mitsukurina owstoni. Lower left: Anatomical sketch of the mandible of Carcharodon carcharias. Right: Preparatory drawing for a ‘Cacho’ of Balaenoptera acutorostrata.

Megaptera novaeangliae

This painting installation from 2018 depicts a life-size head of a Humpback Whale. The image is a composition of 316 A4 pieces of paper and measures 6.5 meters in length. It is a site specific project that was exhibited in Barbecho c. Acebo, in Madrid, in a solo exhibition.

The dramatic appearance of the cut, represented in an intentional forced perspective, is meant to emphasize the importance of the isolated head and suggests the imaginary reconstruction of the body. Its goal is to impact the viewer and provoke an emotional response.

Alejandro Cano · Humpback

Two Blue Whale Hearts

They were painted and exhibited in July 2018, facing the head of Megaptera novaeangliae, at Barbecho c.Acebo 6, Madrid.
The hearts are life-size representations, composed of independent A4 units of paper.

Blue Whale Heart Nº2 (left) and photographs of the exhibition (right).

Whale Heart Illustration

Alejandro Cano · Doctor Cato

Blue Whale Heart Nº1, and two preparatory drawings for Blue Whale Hearts Nº1 & 2.

Blue Whale Heart Illustrations

Galeocerdo cuvier Dissectum Caput

This sculptural painting from 2015 represents the decaying head of a tiger shark, in a composition of 24 A4 units of paper. It is part of the series ‘Los Cachos’. Like all the other works of this series, the painting is fragmented into different A4 units of paper.

This work references the dissociation between the biological origin and the final seafood produce.

In the painting, this dissociation lies in the formal cruelty of the cut. It resembles the utilitarian gesture of the fishmonger and, far from the subtlety of anatomical dissections, it implies the fragment is waste product. In addition, the head represented in an early phase of decomposition, stresses the importance of the lost body.

Tiger Shark Head

Isurus oxyrinchus

Study of the head of a Shortfin Mako, from 2015, composed of 14 A4 papers. It measures 1.47 meters in length. With a forced perspective of the cut, the head is presented as an animal-by-product, as waste detached from the valuable portion that is lost, inviting the viewer to creatively reconstruct the whole body of the fish.

The painting is based on the watercolor made by Miguel Cros for Antonio Sáñez Reguart’s ‘Colección de las Producciones de los Mares de España’, a royal commission to catalogue the Fisheries production in Spain. From 1783 to his mysterious disappearance in 1787, Cros produced 557 spectacular illustrations of fishes and other sea creatures, complete and quartered. This painting reclaims the animal origin of fish products, whose attributes and features are often lost during seafood production.

Alejandro Cano · Doctor Cato

Rhincodon typus

Painting from 2015. Composition of 36 units of paper. It represents the head of a Whale Shark, 1.9 meters in length.

Traditionally, the whale shark was fished for its meat and liver oil. Although in some parts of Asia it is still fished for its large fins, by-catch is currently the greatest threat to this species.

There is a lack of regulations towards shark by-catch mitigation and, in countries where whale sharks are protected, entire bodies tangled up in fishing nets end up as waste product.

Whale Shark Head

El Espetón, or Sphyraena barracuda

This mini-series from 2015 is composed of six A4 pieces of paper, arranged into three different paintings. They are life-sized representations of the head of a Giant Barracuda, dissected to show the rostral muscular tissues and bone structures.

Alejandro Cano · Fish Anatomy

The future of tuna by-products

This project is being done in collaboration with Fishful Future with funding from NOAA’s Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program.

The goal of the project is to inspire San Diego’s fishing and culinary industries, but also the general public, to make use of all seafood by-products which are currently being discarded and wasted. These products, which account for up to 50% of the fish, have little market value, but they can potentially become an extraordinary source of protein as we move towards a more sustainable seafood industry. 

Left: Illustrations of the eye of Thunnus obesus, the bigeye tuna.

Right: Head and neck illustrations of the same species.

Fishful Future · Bigeye tuna

Stenella coeruleoalba

This work from 2019 consists of two paintings, each one fragmented into five independent pieces of paper. They represent the external and internal anatomy of a Striped Dolphin’s head.

The ten A4 units of paper that compose the work are interchangeable between the two paintings, thus allowing different plastic expressions of anatomical interest.

Cetacean acoustics

A life-size depiction of the head of Peponocephala electra, the melon headed whale, and Tursiops truncatus, the bottlenose dolphin. These watercolors are part of a project that illustrates the morphology of the acoustic organs within the head of odontocetes. 2020.

Left: Three developmental stages of the rostrum on Mirounga angustirostris, the northern elephant seal.

Right: Anatomy of the echolocation apparatus of Phocoena phocoena, the harbour porpoise.

Marine mammal anatomy

Marine mammal anatomy

Upper left: Sardina pilchardus (2015).

Lower left: Mugil capurrii (2015).

Upper right: Orcinus orca (2019).

Lower Right: Mirounga angustirostris (2019).

Alejandro Cano · Los Cachos