Magazine article Artforum International

Ernesto Neto: Galerie Max Hetzler

Magazine article Artforum International

Ernesto Neto: Galerie Max Hetzler

Article excerpt

Right before his exhibition at Max Hetzler, the Brazilian sculptor Ernesto Neto was suddenly inspired to add two photographs to his three floor sculptures. He took the film with him to Berlin, reworked its motifs on a computer there, and sent the collages thus created to a local firm that produced Cibachrome prints for him. The result is a kaleidoscopic close-up of gray and ocher patterned paving blocks in Rio de Janeiro whose individual, hand-hewn stones seem to move in waves. The titles that Neto chose for these impressions of the Brazilian city are as elusive as they are precise: The information of the skin moves through cells communication, 2004, and They say it happens through the proteins dance, 2004. In neither case does Neto comment on the urban topography; rather, his focus is on the interplay of the cityscape and the experience of the observer.

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Indeed, the observer's active participation is at the center of all Neto's work. Art theorist Dirk Ufermann has spoken of "experience sculptures," putting Neto in the tradition of Brazilian artists like Helio Oiticica and Lygia Clark. Nevertheless Neto is far removed from the "anthropophagy" of earlier generations, or the ritual celebration of a concrete physical exchange between artwork and public. Even when his sculptures are conceived for use, his works live above all in the tension between their spatial presence and the detailed texture of their surfaces. In his outsize installations of Lycra, tulle, and polymer hosiery containing heaps of spices, only their intoxicating scents turn these minimalistic objects into a labyrinth for the senses.

For a sculpture that he installed in Hetzler's annex, housed in a railway arch, Neto used Lycra in combination with turmeric, ginger, cumin, and cloves. …

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