Wednesday, May 2, 2012

crawl inside...

Yesterday I had a great trip to Chelsea perused around the galleries and saw a lot of good work and stopped in to visit a friends studio. By far the highlight of the visit was the current Ernesto Neto exhibit at Tanya Bonakdar. Partially this was the highlight because I love his work and have for a long time, part of it was because it was a really solid exhibition with a gorgeous color palette, and part of it was that T had SO much fun crawling around inside of the work.

I have long loved Neto's work because it simply makes you feel good, it is gorgeous, but it also invites you to discover, explore, chill-out, and laugh. Though his work has complex layers of meaning first and foremost it feels good. You feel safe and secure as you walk, crawl, roll, lay through his installations. He always seems to have a path leading to a space so you have the chance to be playful and discover but then you also have the chance to stop and chill out inside his womb like creations. So all you gallery goers that are too cool to take your shoes off and crawl in, you are missing the whole point.

From the press release:
Ernesto Neto presents a series of vibrantly colored installations of crocheted polypropylene and polyester cord that hang from the ceiling ...

Crochet has become an important part of Neto’s formal vocabulary over the last two years, and
the artist has translated this craft traditionally done by women on a small, delicate scale to structures of massive proportions... Like giant paintings that the visitor is invited to climb into and move through, the installations provide an opportunity to experience the gallery space from the inside of the artwork itself... While breaking down the barriers between installation and viewer, these new works simultaneously propose a change in our relationship to time. By lifting us off the ground, to float between the floor and the ceiling, Neto offers us a space in which we can slow down, breathe, and rest.

Although these are spaces meant for relaxation, they are created through a meticulous, labor intensive process. Each element is hand crocheted from multicolored strings that the artist combines from a wide-ranging spectrum of threads. The intense, subtle, and sophisticated juxtapositions of color that Neto chooses are then woven together into a single strand, and knotted into circular units that combine to become the walls of the sculptures.... Here, the inside and the outside universe are represented in the same form, demonstrating the interconnectivity of life...

the installation in the main space upstairs includes, stones, plants, and spices. These natural materials serve as a kind of landscape for the main structure of the installation, which itself resembles an amoeba-like animal floating in space. The fusion of figure and ground, or animal and landscape, is a central part of Neto’s practice. Just as his work blurs the boundary between artwork and viewer, inviting the visitor to inhabit and experience it on a visceral, primal level, it also draws no distinction between types of life—we are all a part of the natural world.

Neto's work is powerful, gorgeous, and a total sensory experience. He seems to invite us into a more thoughtful, contemplative, and playful life. Anyone with kiddos should take their kids as it is also a very unique experience for them to get to interact with art work on such a personal level.

One of my favorite moments in the exhibit was actually a little less like his womb shapes, but more like a hallway canopy. On one side the canopy was lined with small bells, the other side was lined with seed pods that made a beautiful chime sound. The contrast between the 2 sounds was powerful- one so earthy the other so sharp. It was such a pleasure to walk through the canopy and softly hear both sounds mingling together.

GO see it or at least visit it online. Here.

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