Ernesto Neto
Brazil, 1964
Ernesto Neto (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1964) maintains the international prestige he earned early on in his career and still works with the same sculptural language he has been developing and enriching in the 25 years since he made his first artworks. He studied sculpture at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage and took courses in urban intervention and sculpture at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro. Neto was amongst the leading figures of the powerful wave of Brazilian art that helped transform the artistic landscape during the nineties. He was already well known in his own country when be began showing his work in American and European galleries in 1996. As of that year, he has been showing in Spain regularly at the Galería Elba Benítez. His participation in the biennales of Sydney and São Paulo in 1998 and Venice in 2001 had an important impact. His “soft” sculptures—made from textiles (usually Lycra) and stuffed with a variety of materials or shaped into membranes that cut across the space—rework the contemporary tradition introduced by the Brazilian Neo-Concrete artists. What Neto essentially learned from them is the possibility of turning form into something social, into something that can be experienced. Two other masters of Brazilian sculpture, José Resende and Tunga, inspire his emphasis on the symbolic qualities of the material. Neto’s sculptures are meant to be experienced physically and involve the spectator’s senses in a very immediate way: colours, textures, odours... His organic forms are almost always part of installations that have taken on monumental proportions at times. Globulocell (2001) is a perfect example of this organic quality and of the poetic and meditative component that can be found in his work. The artist is interested in the communicative capacity of the “skin”, the boundary, as a surface where the interior and exterior penetrate each other. In the body, the responsibility for this exchange falls to the cells, which the artwork included in this collection references. By transcribing the cells into these pieces, Neto insists on assimilating body and sculpture.
Elena Vozmediano