Ernesto Neto’s sensory works travel to Africa

Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s first solo show in Africa, held at Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery, offers a thought-provoking perspective on the nature of life’s energies.

Ernesto Neto at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg. Courtesy Galeríe Elba Benítez & Goodman Gallery

Titled “One day we were all fish and the earth’s belly”, the exhibition fills the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg with Ernesto Neto’s room-encompassing installations of fabric works that talk to the artist’s preoccupation with the links between the body and our natural surroundings.

The central sculpture Um dia todos fomos peixes (“One day we were all fish”) is an immersive welcome to the atrium, its blue netting scented with aromatic spices. Here, visitors are called to insert themselves in the tactile environment, exploring it through the senses of touch, sight and smell. Inspired by the ocean (an ongoing fascination for the artist), the work is a reminder of humanity’s ever-present connection to water.

Reminiscent of flowing currents, it encourages audiences to lie down, breathe in the aromas, meditate and reconnect, ‘like a vortex, to the time we all were fish’, as Neto sees it.

Although Um dia todos fomos peixes has been shown previously, The earth’s belly is a new series of work, creating a unique sculptural environment made from traditional African and Brazilian textiles.

A dialogue about how cultures develop and transform through globalisation and exchange, while at the same time maintaining connections, its interweaving of organic shapes mimics the earth’s network of roots, soil and animals, bringing to mind its ever-present energy.

Neto views his installations as works that resonate with the soil’s vibrations, thus stimulating the three grounding energy centres of the body, the hara, plexus and root chakras.

It’s expected that visitors will exit feeling rather relaxed.

One day we were all fish and the earth’s belly
Ernesto Neto
Goodman Gallery
Opening dates:
until 18 January 2019
163 Jan Smuts Ave, Parkwood, Johannesburg

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