Visiting Ernesto Neto’s Studio – Part 2

In this video from my December visit, Ernesto Neto talks me through the wavy and curvy vs. the straight and boxy. It also includes some footage from his opening at Galeria Fortes Vilaça which featured a new large sculpture made out of corten steel.

Ernesto Neto will transform the upper galleries and outdoor sculpture terraces of the Hayward Gallery with a new site-specific commission and a number of new sculptural works as part of re-opening of the gallery this June.

Find out more at the Hayward Gallery homepage.

Visiting Ernesto Neto’s Studio – Part 1

Ernesto Neto, Wisdom of the Parts, 2008, (c) Ernesto Neto

Ernesto Neto, Wisdom of the Parts, 2008, (c) Ernesto Neto

Last December I had the pleasure of visiting Ernesto Neto’s studio to work with him on his upcoming show. Situated in the bustling old city centre of Rio de Janeiro, his three storey building facilitates all aspects of the artist’s production. The space is crammed full of fabric and material samples and includes an office with a library, a digital lab for creating 3D virtual models of his structures, a fabrication area including a few industrial sewing machines, an open plan area for testing new installations, and lastly though importantly, a rope hammock for thinking and relaxing.

The architecture of the building remains largely unaltered (ie. not a white cube), but Neto has turned a doorway or two into a curved aperture typical of his organic forms. In fact, a few days later when we visited the former house of architect Oscar Neirmeyer in the suburb of Canoas, the similarities between the curving lines of this house and Neto’s kind of ‘soft architecture’ did seem rather uncanny.

While Neto has never explicitly sought to replicate the architect’s visual vocabulary, his aversion for the straight and direct surely speaks to this legacy – at least as much as it also recalls the meandering rivers and valleys of Rio itself. As if to confirm this willing obliqueness, stencilled over the front interior stairs of Neto’s studio, like a Samba-influenced coat of arms, is the slogan ‘less sexy, more sensual’.

Look out for Ernesto Neto’s exhibition at the re-opening of the Hayward Gallery this June.

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