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New Dimensions for the Senses:
A Conversation with Ernesto Neto

by Stephanie Buhmann

Ernesto Neto, who began exhibiting internationally in the mid-1990s, is known for elaborate sculptural installations. A leading figure in Brazil’s contemporary art scene, the Rio de Janeiro-based artist creates biomorphic sculptures made of flexible fabrics, such as Lycra tulle and nylon. The fabric, which is dyed in light hues ranging from off-white to flesh tones to mint, serves as a slightly porous skin and container for Neto’s forms. He fills these sculptures with Styrofoam, lead balls, and exotic spices. In fact, curry, cumin, red pepper, and cloves have all served as stuffing materials. Because the fabric only partially disguises its contents, the characteristic smells and colors of the spices seep through and ooze out of these distinctly tear-shaped forms, generating an overall sense of transparency.

Detail of While Nothing Happens, 2008.
Polyamide tulle, polyamide stockings, wood, and spices, 7.6 x 4 meters.
View of work installed at MACRO, Rome.


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