Guggenheim Bilbao presents Ernesto Neto: The Body that Carries Me on view February 14–May 18, 2014, a unique retrospective dedicated to the work of Ernesto Neto (b. 1964, Rio de Janeiro), one of Brazil’s most outstanding artists who is internationally renowned for his organic sculptures, which often take on colossal dimensions, such as the enormous installation hanging in the Museum’s Atrium, The Falling Body [Lecorps] female [from Leviathan Thot] (O corpo que cai [Le corps] fêmea [de Léviathan Thot ]), 2006.
Ernesto Neto, The Falling Body [Le corps] female [from Leviathan Thot] (O corpo que cai [Le corps] fêmea [de Léviathan Thot]), 2006. Polyamide tulle, tube and stocking; Styrofoam pellets and sand. Collection of the artist. Installation view: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, 2014. Photo: Erika Ede. © Ernesto Neto, Guggenheim Bilbao, 2014.
Sponsored by Iberdrola, the exhibition offers a selection of more than fifty pieces from the 1990s to the present, some of which the artist has especially reconfigured in order to adapt to the Museum’s unique architectural spaces while others were created specifically for the exhibition in Bilbao.
Throughout his nearly thirty years of production, Neto has accumulated an extensive portfolio of work, from delicate drawings to large-scale installations to pieces that were created so that they may be penetrated, inhabited, felt, and even smelled, allowing spectators to interact with them and experience their own bodies and feelings, without losing sight of the fact that, like the human body, they are also fragile and delicate.
This unique journey through the artist’s magical universe begins in the Atrium and continues throughout the second floor of the Museum, immersing visitors in a game of sensory stimuli and visual, tactile and olfactory suggestions and inviting them to escape from the everyday and experience his art with all the senses. As Ernesto Neto says, an exhibition is a place for poetry: “We are always receiving information, but here, I want you to stop thinking. Take refuge in art. I think that not thinking is good, it allows you to directly breathe in life.”
Neto transforms the art experience into a multisensory, interactive event that invites us to connect with our senses in their pure state. Developed in close collaboration with the Brazilian artist, the exhibition showcases an unprecedented fusion of the wavy, organic shapes of Gehry’s architecture with a work of art with the permanently underlying concept of “nature as the master of art.” “We learn from nature, there is no doubt about it. Everything can be found in nature; everything boils down to nature. I am sure that some day we will live in total harmony with the natural world,” Ernesto Neto comments.
Divided in six sections (“Why Are You Going to Rome Again?,” “That’s Life,” “Tent of Dreams,” “Sweet Border,” “Never Mind the Mess,” and “Candy Man Candy,”) that occupy nine Museum spaces—some sections take up more than one space—the exhibition introduces the spectator to certain areas of instability, and then provides moments of calm and reconciliation with the self. A magical journey roaming through tunnels, surfaces your body can sink into, prominent figures to embrace, and fantastic environments to smell and feel.