It’s been a while since I was writing about textile art – but recently Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto took me to some new horizons of art that simultaneously goes for aesthetic and engaged. His latest exhibition ‘The Edges of the World’ has just been opened in Hayward Gallery in Southbank Centre in London, and created specifically for this occasion.
Ernesto Neto, Horizon of events III, detail
Neto transformed gallery space into parallel universe that offers new sensual experiences; visual, olfactory, tactile, but maybe most important, participatory. His every ambient artwork is an aesthetic object of subtle, translucent beauty, but is also an interactive object that, when played with, goes into other filed of conscience. There have been so many occasions when I wanted to touch the art, to feel its surface, but there were too many eyes watching to stop my move. Ernesto Neto fulfilled my dream!
Ernesto Neto: Horizon of events III, detail
He converted space into two zones, with sculptural ‘ladders’ called ‘Just take me out of the ground’, that basically do that – they take visitors into an ambient made of transparent white and green fabrics in the shape of organic tubes, with many associations of caves (stalactites and stalagmites), rain forests or imaginary worlds. These tubes are hollow, so you can peek from under like a Peeping Tom, or just take a few steps up to se the whole scenario.
Ernesto Neto: Just take me out of the ground
’The library mind table’ is also of organic shape, with wooden construction dressed into light white textile, with ‘glove holes’ for turning the pages of books inside. Those gloves are made of soft velvet which makes your reading gentle and comfortable, approachable and attractive.
The library mind table
’Circleprototemple’ is a red dome, with characteristics of a sacred place of a temple and of specific universe of a space capsule. While entering you are immersed with red shades and the outer skin is covered with holes that call you to look through them. Simultaneously, your body is tempted to sit on the circular bench, to bend under it to see the pendants, to pull the string above the drum… It is a synethesia, a complex of sensations that trigger feelings, thoughts, ideas….
Ernesto Neto: Circleprototemple
An installation ‘Horizonmembranenave’ fulfils large space of labyrinth-like structures, where boundaries are present and absent at the same time – fabric is transparent and of different colours whose surfaces blend in the eye, and there are also, again, tube-like holes which offer a variety of peeping excitements. But, you do walk through tunnels and cannot escape the artist’s determined way. As much as this is a realized fantasy, this dream world echoes the real world’s models more than grasped on the first sight.
Ernesto Neto: Horizonmembranenave
’Flavour flower womb domus’ is the highlight of this labyrinth where visitors are invited to enter and let them be inspired by the shape, colour and scent of an ‘earthly man made uterus’, maybe to daydream about 9 months of life we lived but can never again experience.
Ernesto Neto: Flavour flower womb domus
This labyrinth leads you to an open area with the domed pool with children enjoying in the play with water around the artwork, as the climax of the exhibition where art merges with life on the most essential level.
Ernesto Neto: Horizonmembranenave
’In the late 1980s, at the start of his career, Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto (b.1964) began to produce minimalist sculptures exploring ideas of tension and weight. Over the last decade, he has achieved international acclaim for large-scale sculptures involving biomorphic forms and participatory, immersive environments. Though his work is characterised by the use of stretchy, transparent fabric, often weighted with spices, he constantly experiments with other materials end explores new techniques. …
Ernesto Neto, detail
In his own work, Neto aims to create ‘an art that unites, helping us to interact with others, showing us the limits, not as barriers but as a place of sensation and exchange and continuity.’ (taken from an exhibition guide)
Ernesto Neto on Flickr
(Ivana Podnar is a co-blogger on Body Pixel)