In Ernesto Neto’s Largest Installation to Date, the World Is a Crocheted Ship Moving to a Single Rhythm

an installation view of an expansive crocheted installation suspended in a large gallery space with rope-like pieces and weights draping it down to the floor

Photo by Joana Linda. All images © Ernesto Neto, courtesy of MAAT, shared with permission

An enormous, cascading installation of crocheted fabric strips stretches across a cavernous gallery in Ernesto Neto’s newest exhibition. At MAAT in Lisbon, the Brazilian artist (previously) presents Nosso Barco Tambor Terra, which translates to “our boat drum Earth,” a solo exhibition encompassing one of the largest suspended sculptures he has ever made.

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Created with a team of assistants in his expansive Rio de Janeiro studio, the new piece draws on images of sails and maritime materials like canvas and rope. Neto nods to the history of transatlantic voyages between Europe and South America, stitching remnants of bright chintz, common in Brazil, into a swathe of fabric punctuated by points of interest like a vessel full of decorated drums or corn kernels,  a symbol of international trade. Historically, the percussive instrument kept a rhythm for the galley rowers, some of whom would have been enslaved people.

 

a detail of colorful strips of chintz fabric crocheted into a suspended sculpture

Photo by Joana Linda

Suspended from the ceiling, the central work in Nosso Barco Tambor Terra adopts a cell-like structure, with numerous colors and patterns that intertwine, drape, stretch, and overlap. The piece suggests “a ship, a primordial beast, a forest, or even, and more likely, all of those things and infinite others,” writes curator Jacopo Crivelli Visconti in the exhibition text. He emphasizes that Neto portrays the world as a whole, defining the earth as “ancestral, pre-colonial, and even pre-human.”

The artist considers the dark legacies of enforced displacement and slavery during colonial rule, which the Portuguese implemented in Brazil. He situates the work as celebration of the planet’s array of people, cultures, and “worldviews whose strength and beauty one must recognise, reaffirm,” Visconti says. Amid destruction and chaos, Neto’s ark-like vessel envisions a way to propel the whole world forward.

The exhibition opens May 2 and continues through October 7 in Lisbon. Find more from MAAT.

 

an overview of an expansive crocheted installation suspended in a large gallery space with rope-like pieces and weights draping it down to the floor

Photo by Joana Linda

layers of crocheted chintz fabric in a large museum installation

Photo by Joana Linda

two side-by-side images showing crocheted details of chintz fabric suspended in a large sculpture, with the image on the left showing a pocket full of corn kernels

Photos by Joana Linda

a view looking up at a large crocheted installation

Photo by Joana Linda

a group of assistants work on crocheting a large suspended sculpture made from strips of chintz fabric

Photo by Paulo Schettino

two side-by-side images showing different installation stages of a large sculptural installation in a museum

Photos by Joana Linda

a large crocheted installation spread out on the floor of the artist's studio

Photo by Paulo Schettino

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Source: thisiscolossal.com

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