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'Ernesto Neto: The Body That Gravitates on Me' on view at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Ernesto Neto, The Body That Gravitates on Me, 2006. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York.

RIDGEFIELD, CONN.- Ernesto Neto, whose work was first exhibited at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 1996, has become internationally known for translucent organic sculptures that often take on architectural proportions, one of which is suspended from the ceiling of the Museum’s two-story atrium from October 19, 2014, to April 5, 2015.

Exhibitions director Richard Klein described how Neto’s work frequently blurs the boundaries between inside and outside, weightlessness and gravitational pull. He says, “Neto’s work exhibits both playfulness and a formal rigor that is often—literally—stretched to the extreme by his use of flexible synthetic fabrics, particularly those used in stockings and tights: nylon and polyamide.”

Neto’s piece, The Body That Gravitates on Me, is juxtaposed with a work by Eva Hesse that was in founder Larry Aldrich’s collection, Accession II (1968, 1969). Like Neto’s art in the present day, in the 1960s Hesse’s sculpture referenced the body and utilized unusual and fragile materials in the service of reconciling formalism with figurative concerns. Neto said, “Hesse is very inspiring to me because of her groundbreaking work with textiles.”

His exhibition at The Aldrich can also be viewed in conversation with Richard Serra’s Bent Pipe Roll (1968). Neto stated, “When I first saw the Serra piece in the corner using two plates of steel, not held in place with anything except gravity—I think it was 1987—it was very important for me, because I was already working with the idea of gravity. I wanted to be an astronaut, an astronomer, before I became an artist, so the pull of the earth has always appealed to me.”

Ernesto Neto was born in 1964, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he lives and works. Since the mid-1990s, Neto has produced an influential body of work that explores constructions of social space and the natural world by inviting physical interaction and sensory experience. Drawing from Biomorphism and minimalist sculpture, along with Neo-Concretism and other Brazilian vanguard movements of the 1960s and 70s, the artist both references and incorporates organic shapes and materials—spices, sand, and shells among them—that engage all five senses, producing a new type of sensory perception that renegotiates boundaries between artwork and viewer, the organic and manmade, the natural, spiritual and social worlds. He studied at the city’s Escola de artes visuais do Parque Lage in 1994 and 1997, and attended the Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art from 1994 to 1996. Neto’s work has been the subject of major museum exhibitions and biennials worldwide and is represented in international museum collections, including those of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

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