Ernesto Neto

, 2007

Click to enlarge

Young Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s sensual forms made of Lycra filled with pellets create the tension of weight and balance that is a fitting complement to the dancers in Cunningham’s 2005 production Views on Stage. Suspended from above, these pendulous forms are slaves to the force of gravity as their own weight pulls them toward the floor. Likewise, even dancers who soar high above, in gravity-defying leaps, are forced back to earth. The weight of Neto’s sacks constantly pulls them downward, whereas the dancers can repeat the cycle of ascent and descent. Neto conceived of the nylon as a blank canvas that could be accompanied by rotating coloured lights.

In most of Neto’s work, the viewer is free to wander around and under the installation. The direct physical connection between viewer and work is important to Neto, who likens his amorphous sculptures to skin – “All my work is about our relationships, about union.” He adds,”The skin is the end of yourself and the beginning of the other. It is the place of encounter. I want people to see my sculpture through their pores, as well as their eyes, to feel it with all their senses.” His decor for Views on Stage, however, barred the audience from experiencing this direct contact. A viewer’s desire to wander around and touch the set of Views on Stage had to be satisfied vicariously by the interaction of the dancers on stage.

Rachel Young is the Visual Arts Coordinator, Melbourne International Arts Festival