Friday, October 15, 2010

Ernesto Neto

Last night I became fascinated with the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto. The photos of his installations and sculptures completely blew me away for their originality and for the bewildering mix of revulsion and empathy I felt on an almost visceral level as I browsed through his work. His art is abstract, but it's not only visual: it creates environments and brings "interactivity" to a new level. I read that people love going to see his exhibits because these somehow manage to fill observers with the warm fuzzies and creep them out at the same time. I can't wait to go to one and it's unfortunate that I just missed experiencing his work at the Hayward Gallery in London this summer, my daughters and I would have loved it, I'm sure.

Ernesto Neto has a peculiar approach to space and the body. Rio de Janeiro, his native city, epitomizes the conflict between nature and culture and this has shaped his art. His sculptures often deal with the tensions exerted by gravity on skin-thin materials and his installations often take up the entire exhibition space. He uses gossamer-thin, light, stretchable fabrics in nylon or cotton that resemble fine membranes and  fixes them to the ceiling by long, stretched threads so that his works hang down into the room, creating shapes that are almost organic. Sometimes they are filled with scented spices and hang in tear-shaped forms like gigantic mushrooms or huge soft, blobby, stretchy membrane-like things. He also creates peculiar soft sculptures which the visitor is allowed to feel through small openings in the surface or even wear. His spatial labyrinths further encourage the visitor to experience his work and interact with it. The experience must be very pleasant and unique.

His monumental 2006 installation Leviathan Thot at the Pantheon in Paris was supposed to "contrast the animality of a tulle-and-polystyrene creature suspended under the dome of the Pantheon, with the weight of History and the cultural layers of this landmark".  It looks absolutely mind blowing.

Leviathan Thot, 2006
Leviathan Thot, 2006
Leviathan Thot, 2006 
Other works

Breathing the Voyage, an interactive work incorporating camomile and lavender 
(photo by the Guardian), 2010
While nothing happens, 2008
While nothing happens, 2008
Circleproteitemple, 2010, photo by the Guardian
Horizonmembranenave, 2010, photo by the Guardian.
The edge of the world, 2010 - photo by the Guardian

Otheranimal, 2006

Ernesto Neto in his studio
Ernesto Neto in his studio

PS - None of the pictures in this post I mine; sorry if I don't credit all of them, they were obtained from a lot of different internet sites through Google Images. If I've used one of your photos and you'd like me to remove it, please drop me a line.

The portraits of Ernesto Neto are by Jacob Langvad Nilsson, and are copyrighted to him. Please take a look at his gorgeous site here: 


Trulyfool said...


Definitely 'visceral'!

The exudation from somewhere into cultural space.

Mucus as a toy.

Playful as nonsensical gooey kids' Slime, but offered as Museum pieces.

I'm certainly not opposed to working at a monumental magnitude.

This is not abstract enough not to be a bit disgusting (pass the Kleenex!), yet too abstract to suggest anything weightier than its own undermining effect?


Peter said...

Fabulous! Of course difficult to fit in a normal living-room, but really, really nice and creative!

The Edge Columns said...

This guy is soooo good I'm totally envious!

Rose said...

Very rare collection! I didn't see like that before! What can I say... Art or Design?

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