Floating Worlds (group show)
14th Lyon Biennale, various locations, Lyon
20 September 2017 - 7 January 2018
Amid rampant globalisation that is generating constant mobility and a quickening of flows – the “liquidity” of the world and identities, as analysed by the sociologist Zygman Bauman – Emma Lavigne explores the legacy and reach of the concept “modern” in today’s art, in accordance with the definition advanced by the poet Baudelaire, who considered modernity to be “the transient, the fleeting, the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable”. Take the presence of sounds, from David Tudor’s imaginary landscape Rainforest to the murmurs of the world broadcast by the Babel tower of Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles: some artworks remain deliberately open – influenced by the major works of modernity such as Mallarmé’s The Book, Spiritual Instrument – and hint at the thinking of both Luigi Pareyson, who defined an artwork as “the opening-up of an infinity that has been gathered into a form”; and Umberto Eco, who, in The Open Work (1965), analyses the artwork as “a field of events randomly open to some accidental unfolding”. The Biennale will stretch out like a shifting, atmospheric, expanding landscape that is forever reconstructing itself, as reflected in some of the modern masterpieces provided by the Centre Pompidou-National Museum of Modern Art as part of its 40th anniversary, such as the random compositions of forms that will be suspended in the Calder space at the Biennale; and Fontana’s paintings, opening onto endless cosmogonies. The White Cube is cracking up and turning into an organism or a constellation, where – from Hans Arp to Ernesto Neto, from Lygia Pape to Daniel Steegmann Mangrané – art and space biomorph, opening onto projects that challenge the abstraction of European modernity in order to reassess its global reach. The 2017 Contemporary Art Biennale will dock in the heart of a territory whose identity was partly shaped by the ubiquity of water, in a city that “rose from the waters”, and through which the Rhône and Saône run. It will reactivate the imaginative realm conveyed by the Rhône and its tributary, producing an archipelagic topography. Like the white fabric of Hans Haacke’s Wide White Flow or the kites in Shimabuku’s When Sky Was Sea, the Lyon Biennale’s Floating Worlds are being shaken by the wind of libertarian uprisings and contemporary poetic outbursts and aesthetic clashes.
GaiaMotherTree (monumental installation)
Fondation Beyeler in the Zurich Main station, Zurich
30 June - 27 July 2018
The monumental installation GaiaMotherTree by the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto (b. 1964) is a spectacular public art project presented by the Fondation Beyeler in Zurich Main station. The walk-in sculpture, made of brightly colored hand-knotted cotton strips, has an organic, treelike appearance. It functions as a meeting place and a venue for interaction and meditation, and is accompanied by a varied programme of public events.
In June and July 2018, the Fondation Beyeler will be showing an installation by the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto (b. 1964 in Rio de Janeiro) in Zurich Main station. The monumental work GaiaMotherTree, a sculpture made of brightly colored hand-knotted cotton strips, resembles a tall tree, extending right up to the ceiling of the station concourse, which is twenty meters high. It is a walk-in structure that functions as a meeting place and a venue for interaction and meditation. A varied program of events for adults and children, with music, workshops, guided tours and talks, will take place inside the installation.
Ernesto Neto is one of Latin America's most important contemporary artists. His work, comprising sculptures, installations and multimedia projects, has won worldwide recognition, with several presentations at the Venice Biennale and exhibitions in the world's leading museums. It has been collected by, among others, the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Hara Museum, Tokyo.
Neto's ideas have been influenced by the Brazilian Neo-Concrete movement of the 1960s and also by Minimal and Conceptual Art, and Arte Povera. Spirituality, humanism, and ecology are among his principal concerns. His work since the 1990s has been characterized by the use of unusual materials and techniques. His sculptures and installations often feature biomorphic forms and organic materials, with transparency and sensuality playing a major role. Viewers can touch the works and walk through them or set them in motion; in many cases, they also appeal to the sense of smell. The visitor is invited to concentrate on his or her own perception and interact with the work and its environment.
In recent years, Neto has turned his attention to a new series of works, which he is realizing in cooperation with the Huni Kuin, an indigenous community living in the Amazon region near the Brazilian border with Peru. The culture and customs of the Huni Kuin, their knowledge and craft skills, their aesthetic sense, their values, their world view, and their spiritual connection with nature, have transformed Neto's conception of art and become integral elements of his artistic practice.
GaiaMotherTree was made entirely by hand. Strips of cotton were colored with natural dyes, and then knotted together with a finger-crocheting technique to form a giant transparent structure. The upper part of the work, shaped like the crown of a tree, will cover the ceiling of the station concourse. At the base of the tree there is a large space where visitors can linger and rest on seats arranged in a circle. Drop-shaped elements hanging from the branches are filled with aromatic spices and dried leaves.
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen