Ernesto Neto: NAVEDENGA AND THE OVALOIDS: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

October 22 - November 25, 1998
Installation Views
Press release

Bonakdar Jancou Gallery is pleased to present its second one person exhibition of work by Ernesto Neto. In contrast to the artist's 1997 exhibition at the gallery in Soho, in which he presented works of a high density, intense color and powerful smell, works that suggested gravity and impact, the current installation is more esoteric, atmospheric in nature. Dematerialized, yet spiritually, organically and sensorially expanded, the work continues to stimulate the perceptive and sensory experience of the viewer. Using a methodology more intuitive than scientific, Neto's work investigates the relationship between the emotional and the intellectual, the internal and the external.

For this exhibition, Ernesto Neto will show a large scale installation made from a lycra material that has been stretched across the main gallery space, and anchored into place with stockings filled with sand. Entitled Navedenga, the piece functions as a large, suspended enclosure with translucent elastic walls, containing various organ-like forms that evoke the internal cytoplasmic space of a living organism, a uterine cavity, a womb. The title itself "Navedenga," is a word constructed by Neto with its roots in Portugese, referring to the abstract idea of a female sexual internal space, in which life is created and protected. "Nave" can be translated to mean ship, or capsule, while "denga," can more loosely be translated to mean female sexuality and fertility. Sensual and biomorphic, visitors may remove their shoes and enter into the space, or simply observe it from the outside.


In the second gallery space, Ernesto will present a number of Ovaloids, giant unicellular organisms, also made from lycra, and filled with tiny Styrofoam balls. Some of them, the Follicle Ovaloids, have several orifice-like tubes the viewer may reach into and penetrate. Metaphorically, these pieces are like the seeds for the larger installation, the proto-embryo or ova for the Navedenga.

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Ernesto Neto is currently participating in both the Bienalle of Sydney and the Bienal de Sao Paulo. Earlier this year, Neto had a solo show at the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Carrilo Gil, Mexico. In 2000, Ernesto will have a one person show at SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico. Neto will show as part of the "Directions" program at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC in 2001.