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Ernesto Neto: Water Falls from My Breast to the Sky


Ernesto Neto (Brazilian, b. 1964) is one of the most prominent artists to come out of Brazil in the past 20 years. His work is characterized by immersive environments filled with color, smell, and enticingly organic forms. This genre was pioneered by fellow Brazilians Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape, Helio Oiticica, and Cildo Meireles from the 1960s to the 1980s, as well as the Tropicalia movement of the same period.

For the MCA, Neto has designed a site-specific installation that connects the amenities of the newly redesigned first floor to the exhibition spaces above and offers visitors a multisensory place for rest, camaraderie, and reflection. The woven form of the hanging sculpture evokes a cocoon and other natural formations as well as a fishing net, while the enclosure’s blue, yellow, and green strands recall the colors of Neto’s native Brazilian flag. Tactility is an important aspect of the artist’s work and visitors are invited to enter the installation and sit on cushions, which are filled with scented organic materials like seeds and herbs—a favorite technique of the artist. Neto’s installation is a further example of the MCA’s guiding principle of “artist-activated, audience-engaged,” putting this approach front-and-center in this newly reimagined public space.