'we are nature' - interview with brazilian artist ernesto neto ahead of engadin art talks

'we are nature' - interview with brazilian artist ernesto neto ahead of engadin art talks

Ernesto Neto at Engadin Art Talks (E.A.T.) 2023

 

Brazilian contemporary artist Ernesto Neto is one of the speakers of the 2023 Engadin Art Talks (E.A.T.), which takes place this coming weekend, from 27 to 29 January. Part of a panel of international thought leaders who will explore this year’s theme, HOFFNUNG? HOFFNUNG! / HOPE? HOPE!, Neto creates installations, sculptures, and drawings

that encourage interaction and sensory experience. Inviting viewers to participate and interact, his works seek to ‘let our body teach us, to reconnect us to our bodies and, through that, to each other.’

 

Since the mid-1990s, Ernesto Neto has produced an influential body of work informed by spirituality, sensuality, humanism and ecology. His immersive sculptures incorporate organic forms and materials, such as spices, herbs, and plants, that activate the senses and redefine the boundaries between the body and the landscape.‘We are nature,’ Neto tells designboom ahead of his talk at E.A.T.. ‘Our relationship with nature is vital, but as cultural beings, every time we say nature, we place ourselves outside of it. This just does not exist. It is impossible because we are nature, but we are producing so many objects, and we became so fascinated by them and by the cultural capacity that we became pretty much disconnected from what we are, nature!’ Read our interview with the artist in full below.

 

 

 

 

'we are nature' - interview with brazilian artist ernesto neto ahead of engadin art talks
Portrait of Ernesto Neto by Paulo Schettino⁠

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH ERNESTO NETO

 

designboom: How does the 2023 Engadin Art Talks theme, HOPE? HOPE!’, relate to your practice?

 

Ernesto Neto (EN): What does hope mean in our life? We came with a mission, each one of us, to live, it’s a responsibility. With our ancestors and millions of Zoids that had helped us to dig the surface membrane of our mother’s holy egg. My work is pretty much to bring us to this moment, or is it just a fantasy? Hope comes together with work; internal fighting with faithful! In favor of life.

'we are nature' - interview with brazilian artist ernesto neto ahead of engadin art talks
Ernesto Neto, GaiaMotherTree, 2017/2018 | material: cotton voile crochet, cotton voile, cotton knitted rug with drawstring made of cotton voile, cotton blanket, cushions (cotton blanket, cotton knit and cotton voile crochet), OSB benches, baskets of straw, sand, spices (clovers, cumin, curcuma and black pepper powder), ceramic vases, earth, plants, gravel | dimensions : 19,60 x 33,20 x 48,25 m | installation view at Zurich Main Station, Switzerland | photo by Mark Niedermann

 

 

DB: What is the role of an artist within our current sociopolitical landscape?

 

EN: Bring the enchantment!

 

DB: Your installations often weave social space with the natural world through organic forms and materials. What are your thoughts around our relationship with nature?

 

EN: We are nature. Our relationship with nature is vital, but as cultural beings, every time we say nature, we place ourselves outside of it. This just does not exist. It is impossible because we are nature, but we are producing so many objects, and we became so fascinated by them and by the cultural capacity that we became pretty much disconnected from what we are, nature! Culture is our nature, but we have a body, a magic body.

ernesto-neto-interview-engadin-art-talks-designboom-large

GaiaMotherTree | more here

DB: What is your artistic intention behind inviting viewers to participate and interact with your works?

 

EN: To let our body teach us, to reconnect us to our bodies and, through that, to each other. To feel the delicate balance of life, between force and fragility. To give us the opportunity to feel/think through our pores. Breathe and reconnect to our essence, remember that we have fingers, tenderness, health, and joy, and art is happening everywhere.

'we are nature' - interview with brazilian artist ernesto neto ahead of engadin art talks
Ernesto Neto: SunForceOceanLife, 2020 | more here

 

 

DB: Can we, as humans, reinvent ourselves to arrive at a higher level of being? If so, how?

 

EN: Oh yes, pretty much! A lot of people are already changing their values, reconnecting to themselves, and to nature that we are. Spirituality is the keyword. It is pretty much different from the understanding in western culture, spirituality is not outside of us, in heaven or in the sky, it is everywhere, and the holy is not untouchable. Ancestral culture has a different form of knowledge that can feed the West, which is more materialist and has spread its powerful culture everywhere. It was the only right way to move on as humanity and, as we all know, the price is quite high. We are on this vortex trap now, not knowing how to get out it. We had the pandemic and the world stopped, but did we learn? It is time to dance together, when we dance the body teaches, sprouting spirituality. PS. stop eating meat can help a lot.

'we are nature' - interview with brazilian artist ernesto neto ahead of engadin art talks
Ernesto Neto, A Gente se encontra aqui hoje, amanhã em outro lugar. Enquanto isso Deus é Deusa. Santa gravidade, 2003 | more here

 

 

DB: What are you currently working on?

 

EN: I am currently working on a project for Elevation 1049, an open-air project that will be ready in the first week of February, in Gstaad. It is a sculpture named Healing Bug Acupun Earth, our dance is to be connecting the energy from inside the earth to the air, and spread it out as if we could do an atmospheric acupuncture.

ernesto-neto-between-earth-and-sky-tanya-bonakdar-new-york-designboom-1800

Ernesto Neto, EarthTreeLifeLove, 2022 | more here

DB: Are you optimistic about the future?

 

EN: Well, we just had the presidential election in Brazil. Lula is back, with a great team, and we got rid, at least for this moment, of this absurd extreme right wing, so we are relieved. For a very scary moment, social and ecological devastation had been gigantic, but we are in a good moment again. Hope is in the air, but we need a worldwide eco-social transformation. If not, there is no hope.'we are nature' - interview with brazilian artist ernesto neto ahead of engadin art talksErnesto Neto, EarthTreeLifeLove, 2022 | more here

'we are nature' - interview with brazilian artist ernesto neto ahead of engadin art talks
image courtesy E.A.T. / Engadin Art Talks Stiftung

 

 

project info:

 

event: E.A.T. / Engadin Art Talks 2023

2023 theme: HOFFNUNG? HOFFNUNG! (HOPE? HOPE!)

duration: 27-29 January, 2023
location: Zuoz, Engadin, Switzerland and online

tickets: Eventbrite

 

 

E.A.T. / Engadin Art Talks is a Forum of art, architecture, design, literature, and innovation that regularly takes place in Zuoz in the Swiss Engadin valley. With a year-round public programme, E.A.T. brings together catalyst thinkers from the creative and scientific disciplines to share their ideas and expertise while posing challenging new questions. By doing so, E.A.T. aims to find novel perspectives on relevant topics that define our present and shape our future.
Since its foundation, E.A.T. has featured more than 330 international speakers and contributors. In addition to the annual Forum in Zuoz, E.A.T. presents a nomadic series of talks and collaborations with international institutions throughout the year in some of Europe’s cultural capitals to pursue its mission abroad. E.A.T. was founded in 2010 by Cristina Bechtler together with Hans Ulrich Obrist.

ART INTERVIEWS (85)

ENGADIN ART TALKS (E.A.T.) (23)

ERNESTO NETO (16)

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