Making Connections: Brazilian Visual Artist, Ernesto Neto

Friday January 4th, 2013

Ernesto Neto, Barrie Mowatt

Brazilian conceptual artist Ernesto Neto with Barrie Mowatt of the Vancouver Biennale.


Every evening that the sun shines in Rio de Janiero, Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto can be found on the beaches of Ipanema between lifeguard stations 7 and 8. His after-hours beach parties are notorious among the Brazilian arts community, resulting in a kind of cult-like status for Neto.

The Vancouver Biennale’s Barrie Mowatt recently met up with Ernesto Neto in Brazil to discuss his participation in the 2013 – 2015 Vancouver Biennale. As one of Brazil’s most sought-after artists internationally, Neto (like Tunga, Cildo Meireles, Nuno Ramos, and Beatriz Milhazes) produces powerful, unique works reflective of their Brazilian roots and Brazil’s rise as an economic and cultural power. Neto’s choice of materials, compositions and installations reflects the playful, interactive, engaging and youthful nature of the artist resulting in sensually and visually appealing social sculptures.

Neto’s large, soft, biomorphic installations, often stuffed with Styrofoam pellets or, on occasion, aromatic spices, can be touched, poked, prodded and walked through. His work, often referred to as “beyond abstract minimalism,” has been featured in Brazil’s national pavilion in the 2001 Venice Biennale, the Panthéon in Paris, Brazil’s Inhotim, New York’s Park Avenue Armory, and London’s Hayward Gallery.

For more on Ernesto Neto, check out his work on Design Boom or watch this interview with him produced by London’s Southbank Centre.

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