Ernesto Neto’s Animal Architecture

Ernesto Neto

This link came across our feeder a few days back and though it’s not directly related to our normal repertoire we think it’s super cool and definitely work worth mentioning. Ernesto Saboia de Albuquerque Neto (Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 1964– ) is a contemporary visual artist who has been exhibiting in Brazil since 1988 and has had solo exhibitions abroad since 1995. From Wikipedia:

Neto’s work has been described as “beyond abstract minimalism”. His installations are large, soft, biomorphic sculptures that fill an exhibition space that viewers can touch, poke, and even sometimes walk on or through. These are made of white, stretchy, stockinglike material, which he stuffs- to fill out and solidify the amorphous forms- with Styrofoam pellets or, occasionally, aromatic spices: in some installations, he has also used this material to create translucent scrims that transform the space’s walls and floor. His sculptures can be regarded as expression of traditional abstract form, but in their interaction with the viewer they work on another level as well.

What we find particularly exciting is a certain wild quality to his work. Clearly Ernesto goes to great lengths to plan and fabricate his works but much of the effect appears to be outside of his control. The coloring of the spices, the volumetric distortions of the filled stockings, and the ambient environmental quality created by the mixture of smells, and spatial intrusions — all add to a particularly animal aesthetic. More than simply biomorphic sculptures, these installations create a kind of heightened spatial awareness that is dependent upon multiple senses.  And perhaps this is what convinces us the most of its validity — the strength of the experience relies as much on aural, oral, and haptic senses as the visual and thereby undermines the optic-rational paradigm (seeing is believing /  seeing is knowing-naming) typical of human work.


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