Ernesto Neto et al.

Calder Now
Kunsthal Rotterdam, Rotterdam
21 November 2021 – 29 May 2022

Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode
Photo: Ossip van Duivenbode

This coming autumn, Kunsthal Rotterdam will proudly present Calder Now, an extensive exhibition that explores for the first time in Europe the modern master’s enduring and unmistakable influence on contemporary art. Calder Now presents over twenty sculptures by Alexander Calder alongside works by ten prominent contemporary artists: Olafur Eliasson, Žilvinas Kempinas, Simone Leigh, Ernesto Neto, Carsten Nicolai, Aki Sasamoto, Roman Signer, Monika Sosnowska, Sarah Sze and Rirkrit Tiravanija. Enigmatic, gravity-defying installations, sculptures that induce extraordinary optical experiences, and art that appeals to all the senses reveal new connections with Calder and bring into focus the countless extensions of his legacy. Offering a new perspective on the developments in contemporary art during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, this must-see Kunsthal production is being realised in close collaboration with guest curators Dieter Buchhart and Anna Karina Hofbauer, and the Calder Foundation. Many of the sculptures and installations will be shown in the Netherlands for the first time.

Kunsthal Rotterdam


Ernesto Neto

Mentre la vita ci respira – SoPolpoVit’EreticoLe (solo show)
Palazzo della Ragione, Bergamo
10 June – 26 September 2021

Installation view: GAMeC / Palazzo della Ragione, Bergamo, 2021, photo: Lorenzo Palmieri, courtesy of GAMeC - Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo
Installation view: GAMeC / Palazzo della Ragione, Bergamo, 2021, photo: Lorenzo Palmieri, courtesy of GAMeC - Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo

For their summer exhibition, GAMeC presents new works by Ernesto Neto at the Palazzo della Ragione. With central installations, such as SoPolpoVit'EreticoLe, the show draws attention to the themes of ecology, ritualism and spirituality, characteristics of Neto's artistic research. Neto's work will be accompanied by works and surroundings of the medieval origins of the palace and its centuries-old history. The show was curated by Lorenzo Giusti.

Seen from the other side, the large central installation, entitled SoPolpoVit’EreticoLe, looks like a kind of agroglyph: a drawing with an organic form, a sort of octopus traced on the floor of the large room, the tentacles of which move simultaneously in different directions, also reminiscent of the movement of the boa to be found in many other projects by Neto.

Part octopus, part sun, part cell, the drawing has a circle in the center of the figure that seems to evoke the presence of a navel. The navel is a form of cross-cultural symbolism that projects the analogy between the universe and the body onto the very concept of the center.

Closely bound up in human physiology is the consideration of the navel as the generating hub par excellence. Hence the “life” evoked by the title of the installation, which in fact takes the form of an acrostic created from the initial syllables of the Italian words for “sun”, “octopus,” “life”, and “heretic”, put together following the rhythm of the words so as to transmit a sense of musicality and movement.

Conceived in actual fact as a bed, one of the many natural resting places recreated in the space of Palazzo della Ragione, on which to lie down or sit and share the experience of taking a break, Neto’s work makes use of locally sourced materials, such as stones and straw, plants, spices, and medicinal herbs, placed in handmade bags using the crochet technique, so as to stimulate all of the five senses.


Ernesto Neto

SunForceOceanLife (solo show)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
30 May – 26 September 2021

Installation view: Ernesto Neto, SunForceOceanLife, 2020, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, © 2020 Ernesto Neto, photo: Albert Sanchez
Installation view: Ernesto Neto, SunForceOceanLife, 2020, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, © 2020 Ernesto Neto, photo: Albert Sanchez

This summer, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will present Ernesto Neto: SunForceOceanLife, a major commission and one of the largest crochet works to date by the renowned Brazilian artist. Over the course of three weeks, a team of a dozen people will construct a labyrinth of interior pathways for visitors to explore, all while suspended 12 feet in the air. Ernesto Neto: SunForceOceanLife, the seventh installment of the Museum’s summer immersive art series, will be on view from Sunday, 30 May, through Sunday, 26 September, 2021 in Cullinan Hall of the Caroline Wiess Law Building.

SunForceOceanLife is a spiraling, structural marvel that highlights the cyclical relationship between the sun and the sea to produce life on earth. This massive installation will fill Cullinan Hall with yellow, orange, and green materials that are hand-woven into a myriad of patterns and sewn together in a spiral formation. At nearly 30 feet x 79 feet x 55 feet, the structure will be suspended from the ceiling and will spiral outward from the center of Cullinan Hall to form one point of entry and one point of exit: the former at the entryway to the pavilion and the latter at the rear of the piece facing the south wall. As visitors enter, they will follow a path through the interior passages to its center. Each crocheted section will be filled with soft, plastic balls underfoot that move with each step, forcing visitors to focus on their inner balance and the stability of their own bodies.

SunForceOceanLife is about fire, the vital energy that enables life on this planet,” said artist Ernesto Neto. “Every time we complete one crocheted spiral with the polymer string used in this work, we burn both ends with fire in a gesture that evokes meditation, prayer, and other sacred rituals. I hope that the experience of this work will feel like a chant made in gratitude to the gigantic ball of fire we call the sun, a gesture of thanks for the energy, truth, and power that it shares with us as it touches our land, our oceans, and our life. SunForceOceanLife also unites the disciplines of art and culture with biology and cosmology; it directly engages the body as does a joyful dance or meditation, inviting us to relax, breathe, and uncouple our body from our conscious mind. The sensation of floating, the body cradled by the crocheted fruits of our labor, brings to mind a hammock: the quintessential indigenous invention that uplifts us and connects us to the wisdom and traditions of our ancestors.”

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston

Ernesto Neto et al.

Permanent installations at the ReefLine, Miami Beach's first Underwater Sculpture Park
From December 2021


The ReefLine will be a new 7-mile underwater public sculpture park, snorkel trail and artificial reef located off Miami Beach’s shoreline. The large-scale environmental public art project has been conceived by cultural placemaker Ximena Caminos, who will serve as the project’s Artistic director. Led by Shohei Shigematsu, OMA will design the ReefLine’s masterplan as well as a distinct sculpture within it, collaborating with a team of expert marine biologists, researchers, architects and costal engineers.

The ReefLine will provide a critical habitat for endangered reef organisms, promoting biodiversity and enhancing coastal resilience. For the masterplan, OMA has designed a geometric, concrete modular unit that can be deployed and stacked from South Beach to the north, following the topography of the sea bed. The living breakwater is the connective tissue for the overall masterplan and will be punctuated by a series of site-specific installations.

The project will be completed in phases, with the first mile slated to open December 2021—the first phase will open with permanent installations by Argentine conceptual artist Leandro Erlich (b. 1973) and Shohei Shigematsu/OMA. The project will also include new commissions by Ernesto Neto (b. 1964, Brazil) and Agustina Woodgate (b. 1981, Argentina).