Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s current show at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, Slow iis goood, reaffirms the artist’s ability to navigate contradictions with ease. Neto counterbalances his sculptures’ otherworldliness with an organic aesthetic, framing his works as environments to be immersed in and objects to digest visually.
Neto developed an international reputation when he represented Brazil at the 2001 Venice Biennale alongside Vik Muniz. The two artists’ styles differ greatly—Neto’s sculptures evoke a strong relationship to the body, a relationship that invites playful interaction with the pieces, especially with works like The Island Bird. The sculpture is reminiscent of a childhood ball pit, requiring you to cling, for balance, to crocheted nets suggestive of jungle gyms.
Whereas Neto’s earlier works were recognizable for their sack-like, sandbag quality, the crochet works that fill Tanya Bonakdar are more grounded in the labor and handiwork that went into creating them. The artist refers to this process with Labor, which invites the viewer to step into a crocheted room containing a table, chairs, scissors, and a machine, a scenario evoking the artist’s workshop.
The sculptures’ crocheted look suggests microscopic cells as well as “a network of constellations unfurled across the sky,” both references to our natural world. These works refuse to be bogged down by Neto’s ambition to encapsulate macro- and micro-levels of life, a success perhaps owed to the playfulness of the works and the space they create for relaxation and contemplation.
Slow iis goood will be on view at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery until May 25.