Since the mid-1990s, Ernesto Neto has produced an influential body of work that explores constructions of social space and the natural world by inviting physical interaction and sensory experience. Drawing from Biomorphism and minimalist sculpture, along with Neo-concretism and other Brazilian vanguard movements of the 1960s & 70s, the artist both references and incorporates organic shapes and materials – spices, sand and shells among them—that engage all five senses, producing a new type of sensory perception that renegotiates boundaries between artwork and viewer, the organic and manmade, the natural, spiritual and social worlds.
The artist continues to live and work in Brazil. He studied at the city’s Escola de artes visuais do Parque Lage in 1994 and in 1997, and also attended the Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art from 1994 to 1996.
Since then, Neto’s work has been the subject of major museum exhibitions worldwide. In 2011, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey in Mexico opened the artist’s first survey exhibition, La lengua de ernesto: retrospectiva 1987-2011, which travelled to Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City in 2013. The artist also presented important solo exhibitions at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (2012), Faena Arts Center in Buenos Aires, which traveled to Estação Leopoldina in Rio de Janeiro (2011-2012), Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre in London (2010) Museum of Modern Art in New York (2010); Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo (2010), Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art (2010), Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma in Italy (2008), Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2002), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (2002), among others. In 2001 he represented Brazil at the 49th Venice Biennale, and in 2017 Neto was prominently featured in Vive Arte Viva at the 57th Venice Biennale curated by Christine Macel.