Ernesto Neto is a visual artist who creates intriguing large installation pieces that must be walked through or otherwise interacted with to be enjoyed. Sometimes crochet plays into his work and it’s a key feature of a recent semi-controversial piece that just opened in the Puerto Madero district of Buenos Aires.
More about Crochet Artist Ernesto Neto
I only recently learned about Ernesto Neto because of his new crochet sculpture in Buenos Aires but this artist is a big deal in South America and has been for quite some time. He began showing his work in the late 1980’s and had his first solo exhibition in 1995. His large scale pieces have represented his home country in displays around the world including the Pantheon in Paris, The Hayward Gallery in London and Park Avenue Armory in New York. He has received the chevalier award by Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, a prestigious French art award.
More About Neto’s Art
Ernesto Neto creates large pieces of striking visual artwork that also have a kinesthetic appeal. A Wikipedia post has a description of his art that I like:
“Neto’s work has been described as “beyond abstract minimalism”. His installations arelarge, soft, biomorphic sculptures that fill an exhibition space that viewers can touch, poke, and even sometimes walk on or through.”
A word that seems to be used frequently in reference to Neto’s work is “organic”. He uses natural shapes and seems to have a a strong interest in the natural world and the fact that humans are a part of the natural world.
However, the materials that Neto uses are not natural materials. He is best known for creating sculptures using styrofoam, lycra and nylon stockings. Even here, though, there can be some natural touches. For example, many of his sculptural pieces have included filling stockings with scented material like coffee or chamomile.
Examples of Ernesto Neto’s Crochet
Ernesto Neto’s latest work is the aforementioned large crochet sculpture that has been erected at the brand new Faena Art Center in the Puerto Madero district, a trendy new luxury area of Buenos Aires. It’s a huge sculpture of crochet netting that is filled with plastic balls, creating a jungle-like canopy of swaying forms that visitors can play with and even climb. The piece is somewhat controversial and considered unsettling but Neto says that’s just people being afraid of instability, something that they should accept and embrace.
The crochet netting sculpture in Buenos Aires
The latest work is not the first time that Neto has used crochet in his work although from what I can tell it may be the first time that crochet has been the key feature. It played a smaller but still key role in his 2010 exhibition at London’s Hayward Gallery. Reporter Charles Darwent describes it:
“Crochet comes into its own in Neto’s new work, securing the tubes that run between the inner and outer membranes of his caves or, decked with tiny pink or blue ribbons, edging fields of scrim. It lends the faint air of a maiden aunt to the project, an effect heightened by the Lascaux lavender bags stitched into one wall of the tunnel.”