Ernesto Neto

Swing from politics to ayahuasca with one of the leaders of Brazil's contemporary art scene. 

Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto found his way to sculpture after failed career ventures in engineering and astronomy. It was during the reinvigoration of the art scene in Brazil in the late 1980’s that saw Neto attend Parque Lage School of Visual Arts and begin his creative process in sculpture.

“I see the world as a sculpture,” says Neto, who began working with gravity as his initial motivation for his creations. He sees gravity as the centre of all things; the weight of the world and everything within it relies or is dependent on this single force. Thus, his sculptures are all based on a centre of gravity, mostly consisting of hanging objects or materials.

Simplicity is key for Neto, who prefers to steer clear of anything too complicated in our already complex culture. He says that in the world of constant media updates and 24 hour news, we are bombarded too much with images and information about all the tragedy in the world. Neto believes that with this recycling and “re-digesting” of the horrors in our world, we are merely valorizing the negative.

In a recent trip to the Amazon forest, Neto says that in meeting the people and taking part in their sacred rituals, he realised that their focus on blessings and the light in the world was a more positive approach to society, culture and political issues. He believes that art should not be emphasized as the major role in creating a direct relationship between politics and change. Rather, he says that you need to work on a more indirect message which focusses people on thinking about a deeper cultural context and meaning to create change within themselves.