Art
“Soplo” Ernesto Neto in Malba: the social dimension of artistic practice
Estefanía Radnic
estefania@comunidadpan.co

Rarely have so many works of Ernesto Neto (Río de Janeiro, 1964) been shown in the same exhibition, more than 30 pieces produced from the late 80s to the present: “sculptures” of different periods and of varied materials (lycra, crochet , species, stones, lead), photographs and works on paper. The spatial arrangement designed by the curators Jochen Volz and Valeria Piccoli, director and chief curator of the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, does not respect a chronological order but rather proposes a route “following the symbol of infinity as in a dance”.

In various ways the great retrospective presented by Malba proposes a new experience. It invites us to lose ourselves and rediscover us among and within its “creatures,” as anthropologist Els Lagrou calls Neto’s sensual biomorphic works. These elementary forms, organs, and beings of the animal world dialogue with the surrounding space and, fundamentally, with the spectators. They question us.

© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba

There are walkable sculptures, which activate the spectator’s senses and in which even his body is envolved. There are others that require an activation by the viewer, generating a coexistence and a contact, here the key notion of collective body is manifested.

It is a sensory exhibition. There are translucent sculptures containing olfactory elements. Braided sculptures that fall or scatter to store something inside or show it. Aromas, textures, sounds, even flavors. Habitable works, woven with crochet: that favor living together. A show where the viewer is the protagonist. Walk, smell, share, participate in rituals, make music. A relational art.

© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba

Following the path set by the Neo-concrete movement that rejected the rationalism of concrete art in the 50s and 60s with Ligia Clark, Helio Oiticica and Ligia Pape at the head, Neto reformulates the sculpture. It produces an interesting leap from individual issues (balance and relationship between the parties and with others) to a social interpretation of the sculpture.

Weight and counterweight, gravity. Seek a balance between two objects, between the object and the viewer, between us and the world, between humanity and the environment, between the world and the cosmos. From the beginning of his career Neto poses an exploration of sculpture but also a return to the essential, the original. A necessary reconnection with spirituality, community and nature in times when superficiality and individualism reign.

The social commitment of the artist and his concern for the affirmation of the body as an inseparable element of the mind and spirituality were reinforced during his experiences in the jungle with native people, mainly with the Huni Kuin community, from 2013. His current collaboration with these communities appears as a natural consequence of his sculptural investigations.

In the porosity of the boundaries of intersubjective knowledge, the Brazilian sculptor is a shaman who activates forgotten subjective dimensions as if it were an ancestral ritual. A breath of life charged with energy. A new way of understanding the world. A powerful show that comes to wake us up in this hot Buenos Aires summer.

Due to its recreational and relational characteristics, it is an ideal exhibition to visit with children and adolescents. Starting on January 23, summer activities designed by the malba education team begin. This is the link to see the options and register: https://malba.org.ar/evento/ninos-y-adolescentes-vacaciones-de-verano-en-malba/

© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba
© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba
© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba
© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba
© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba
© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba
© Pablo Jantus. Cortesía de Malba
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Large-scale photographs of humanity’s leisure moments