February 14, 2014 - May 18, 2014


Exhibition sponsored by:

Ernesto Neto: The Body that Carries Me

The works by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto—he defines himself as an sculptor—were designed to be walked through, inhabited, felt, and even smelt, which enables the viewer to experience their own body, their senses, and their mind through the work of art. Visitors interact with each other, as well as with their surroundings, immersed in a sculpture-architecture fusion. Neto claims: “What we have in common is more important than what makes us different. I am interested in debating the plight of humanity, the temperature of the things we experience, the movement of things, language.” For this reason, he inquires into the common features of human relationships through sculptures that appeal to our sensuality, corporality, and reflection.

This show has been developed in close collaboration with the artist and it has been designed as a tour that enables visitors to learn about the essence of the artist's oeuvre firsthand, an experience of scents, colors, emotions, languages, and sensorial events. For Neto, an exhibition is a place of poetry where visitors can escape from the daily grind: "We are constantly receiving information, but I want this to be a place where we stop thinking, where we take refuge in art. I think that not thinking is healthy; it's like breathing life itself." The journey begins in the Atrium, where a huge work hangs from the ceiling, and continues through the second floor. Each gallery offers a unique experience and requires a different pace to view or interact with the pieces.

Ernesto Neto: The Body that Carries Me

Ernest Neto is one of Brazil's pre-eminent artists. His inviting installations are immersive habitats that engulf us in a sensual world. He began exhibiting internationally in 1995 and since the he has shown his work in major museums and galleries around the world.


Río de Janeiro (Brasil), 1964

1964 Born Ernesto Saboia de Albuquerque Neto in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he now lives and works.

1988 First solo exhibition held at Petite Galerie, Rio de Janeiro.

Produces his first Colônias, groups of sculptures made of polmymide stockings filled with lead spheres.

1990 Awarded the Prêmio Brasília de Artes Plásticas.

1992 Exhibits at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo.

1994-1997 Studies at Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage and at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro.

1995 First solo exhibitions outside Brazil.

Participates in the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea.

1996 Begins to include the element of smell in his sculptures, filling translucent fabrics with colorful aromatic spices.

1997 Begins work on sculptures he calls Naves, structures in flexible transparent fabric that can be touched and penetrated by the public.

Exhibits at Fundação Cultural do Distrito Federal de Brasília.

1998 Exhibits at Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil in Mexico City.

Participates in the 24th São Paulo Biennial and in the 11th Biennale of Sydney.

1999 The Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, Texas, presents his first solo exhibition in the USA, titled Nhó Nhó Nave.

Participates in the Liverpool Biennia, and in the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, USA.

2000 Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, exhibits the project created by the artist for his wedding: O casamento─Lili, Neto, Lito e os loucos.

His works are presented in the UK at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London and at the University of Essex in Colchester; and in the USA at the SITE Contemporary Art Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico and at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.

2001 Represents his country, together with Vik Muniz, at the 49th Venice Biennale, exhibiting two installations in Brazil's national pavilion. His work Ô Bicho! is included in the international group exhibition Plateau of Humankind (Arsenale di Venezia)

Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC) in Santiago de Compostela organizes his first solo exhibition at a Spanish museum: Ernesto Neto, a paisagem do corpo e o corpo da paisagem

Presents A Maximum Minimum Time Space Between Us and the Parsimonious Universe at the Berkeley Art Museum, California, USA, and Humanóides at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne).

2001-2002 Participates in the travelling exhibition Brazil: Body and Soul, organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

2002 His work is exhibited at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C, the Kunsthalle, Basel, the Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney.

2003 The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, exhibits Three Religions, No God and the Children (Pacific Design Center).

2004 As part of the international sculpture show Lustwarande 04, the De Pont Museum in Tilburg, Netherlands, presents A Contemporary Woman and the Shadow of the Wind.

2005 Exhibits work at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana, USA.

2006 Awarded the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres de Francia for his site-specific installation Léviathan Thot at the Panthéon in Paris. The Malmö Konsthall, Sweden, presents a selection of his work.

2007 Creates an installation for the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) to mark the opening of the museum's new exhibition spaces.

2008 Museo d'Arte Contemporanea di Roma (MACRO) presents his first solo exhibition in Italy.

2009 Creates Anthropodino, filling the 55,000 square-foot Drill Hall of New York’s Park Avenue Armory with structures made of transparent fabric and wood.

The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes, France, presents the piece A culpa Civilizada, a partial recreation of Léviathan Thot.

2010 The Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, London, presents The Edges of the World, an exhibition which includes the artist's first outdoor installation.

Dengo is presented at the Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo; Intimacy, at the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, and Dancing Allowed, at the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, installs Navedenga (1998), purchasing the work for its collection.

Participates in the 29th São Paulo Biennial.

2011 Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MARCO), Monterrey, Mexico, presents the anthological exhibition La lengua de Ernesto. Obras 1987−2011. An important publication accompanies the show.

The Faena Arts Center of Buenos Aires presents the exhibition Hipercultura locura en el vértigo del mundo.

Participates in the 12th Istanbul Biennial.

2012 Creates a site-specific installation at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, featuring a metal sculpture that carries on a dialogue with the architecture of the Renzo Piano-designed gallery.

Life is a body we are part of−A vida é um corpo do qual fazemos parte is installed at Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo, and O Bicho SusPenso na PaisaGem, at Rio de Janeiro’S Estação Leopoldina.

2013 Exhibits at Palazzo Doria Phamphilj, home of the Brazilian embassy in Rome. Participates in the 30th São Paulo Biennial and in the 11th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates.

Ernesto Neto: The Body that Carries Me

Gallery 208
That' life

This enormous hand-crocheted multicolored sculpture is suspended from the ceiling and symbolizes Ernesto Neto's conception of life, in which there is no separation between humans and nature.

Find out more

Life is a Body We are Part of−A vida é um corpo do qual fazemos parte, 2012, was created for the exhibition Madness Is Part of Live held in the Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo in 2012. This enormous hand-crocheted multicolored sculpture is suspended from the ceiling and symbolizes Ernesto Neto's conception of life, in which there is no separation between humans and nature. Divided into a male part—the suspended walkway—and a female part—the platform on the upper part—the piece re-creates fertilization, the moment when a sperm enters an egg, the beginning of life.

The artist began working with crochet in 1994 in order to create seamless fabrics and has hand-crocheted circular cells—filled with plastic balls—since then. Neto prefers materials and techniques traditionally linked to women. The artist explains “I love the idea of continuity between man and woman, both in the moral sense and the psychotopological sense. Female and male are just negative and positive. It’s like a sculpture cast—you have the model and the cast. I’m pretty interested in this ambiguity.”

According to Neto, he has wanted to move through the space, hover above the floor or trace a line to climb and float in the air for many years. Life is a Body We are Part of−A vida é um corpo do qual fazemos parte, through which Neto aims to give visitors a slight sense of vertigo, encourages us to think about balance, something which we sometimes take for granted, and to reconsider "the way we move, desire, and fear."

Life is a Body We are Part of is a work which can only be accessed by eight people at a time. To do so, visitors should remove all personal items, such as shoes, bags, and any other items, including the audio guide, which might get stuck in the piece's crochet. Please wait for your turn. In order to facilitate access to this piece to as many visitors as possible, we ask that you not remain longer than 15 minutes. When you leave, please remove all your personal items from your locker so that the next person can use it.

You can also interact with the work Design Place (Lugar Desenho, 2002), where activities will be held at certain times from Tuesday to Sunday. Please ask the Museum's docents for further information.

Why are you going to Rome again?

The Falling Body [Le corps] female [from Leviathan Thot], an enormous white form suspended from the Atrium ceiling, almost seems to breathe. Its long, soft limbs hang heavily, reminding us of the force of gravity that anchors us to the earth. The sculpture is pliable, sensual, and transitory—like our own bodies.

Find out more

Ernesto Neto created the work The Falling Body [Le corps] female [from Leviathan Thot] (O corpo que cai [Le corps] fêmea [de Leviathan Thot]), 2006] for the Panthéon in Paris. The building became a monument to humanist ideology after the French Revolution—it embodies modern politics and science revolution and symbolizes the birth of contemporary Western society. The work is now installed at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which fully represents contemporary architecture, according to the artist. Neto considers the building designed by Gehry to be an emblematic symbol of our times.

In the mid-1990s, the artist moved on from the geometric language of his first works and began to fill pieces of polyamide with such diverse materials as styrofoam balls, flour and spices, to create forms that resemble the human body or other living organisms. In The Falling Body [Le corps] female [from Leviathan Thot], the enormous white form suspended overhead almost seems to breathe. Its long, soft limbs hang heavily, reminding us of the force of gravity that anchors us to the earth. The sculpture is pliable, sensual, and transitory—like our own bodies.

The hammock-carts in the work Looking at the Sky (Olhando o céu, 2013) enable visitors to view this installation from other vantage points and move around the Atrium by pushing the carts with their feet. They will be available for limited periods from Tuesday to Sunday; to use them, ask the Museum's docents, who will also provide you with more information on the work and the artist.

Gallery 203
Barter barter

By bartering, we attach more importance to justice, equality, and basic human values, and we are more aware of our own needs, the needs of others, and the needs of the planet which we all share.

Find out more

In this gallery, Neto takes his statement about the connections among human beings even further. The core of this installation is made up of objects from everyday life, and paper bags containing glass beads have been laid out around them.

Starting the first day of the exhibition, visitors can exchange some of these objects in the middle with other items they may have brought with them (which cannot have a base larger than 30 x 30 cm). In this way, throughout the duration of the exhibition, the items will change thanks to the public's participation. These objects, which may come from anywhere, will then be dispersed around the city, or perhaps the entire world, the visitors thus becoming participants in the work.

To create this installation, Neto drew inspiration from the surge in exchange networks that have emerged all over the world in response to the limitations imposed by the economic system. By bartering, we attach more importance to justice, equality, and basic human values, and we are more aware of our own needs, the needs of others, and the needs of the planet which we all share.

From Tuesday to Sunday, at certain hours, the Museum's docents will oversee the exchange of objects in the installation Barter Barter and will provide more information on the works displayed and on the artist.

Gallery 202
Candy Man Candy

Ernesto Neto celebrates the rich Carioca culture and encourages us to be participants in the vibrant street atmosphere of his native city.

Find out more

Ernesto Neto invites us to enter the vibrant street culture of his native city. In this gallery, a huge web of colored threads crocheted together surrounds visitors, encouraging them to be participants in the rich Carioca culture.

“Baleiro Bala,” the expression in Portuguese that lends itself to the title of this section, is the song by a samba school that tells the story of a camelô or street candy vendor who works in the poorest parts of Rio near the train tracks. Based on the figure of the street vendor, an example of individual survival, the artist holds up popular Brazilian culture through its different representative elements. Red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, and green strings-made by a studio near Neto's own- are knotted together overhead to make a huge web. Wherever you look, you will discover long columns that hang down from the weight of their contents, since they are partly filled with beer or soda cans of the same color, large green coconuts, or polystyrene balls.

In this section, visitors may play the musical instruments in this gallery, but we ask you to respect the order of arrival and be extremely careful.

Gallery 206
Sweet edge

An edge is not an immobile boundary but a permeable line: edges are precisely where life is found, where the organicity of bodies converges.

Find out more

An edge can be understood as the delimitation of things, an interruption between one body and the next. Yet an edge is not an immobile boundary but a permeable line: edges are precisely where life is found, where the organicity of bodies converges. The edges entail their own dissolution and put all things in touch with each other, making communication possible. They connect everything.

In the depths of the forest, under the lights and shadows that filter in through the trees, in the infinite shades of green, the boundaries of things, the edges, practically merge. The artist thus "constructs" his own forest here, one in which a nylon horizon filters the light. In some areas, the nylon droops with the weight of the spices inside it.

As beings that inhabit this forest, Copulony (Copulônia, 2013), Lipzoids (2013), and The Ovaloid's Meeting, (1998) share this space meant for contemplation.

“My work aims to create a continuous connection between body and landscape. Our body is a landscape. I understand my body as a landscape. We are made of three trillion cells, plus one quadrillion cells, mostly bacteria, that we need to be able to live with”. Neto underscores the need of the other to live, to survive—the importance of coexistence.

The arrangement of the elements in the gallery is also a reference to the Huni Kuin people, a shamanic tribe living in northern Brazil. The Huni Kuin draw on ancestral knowledge to perform rituals that connect them directly with nature. In this space, you can also see sacredFire burnedDrawing (FogoSagrado desenhoQueimado, 2013), made up of some 100 candles which will be lit every day, one by one. When all the candles have burned down, they will make a drawing which will be part of the installation.

Gallery 207
Mountain brother

“I see the body largely as a landscape — as a sea, a field — and sculpture is a landscape.”

Find out more

The Slow Pace of the Body that is Skin (O tempo lento do corpo que é pele, 2012) is a shapeless sculpture made with the technique of nozinhos, or small knots, originally hailing from the mountains near Rio de Janeiro.

Neto links up the concepts of skin and landscape: “The idea of skin is very important in all my works: the skin as a place of existence, of dialogue between our internal and external vibrations. I see the body largely as a landscape—as a sea, a field—and sculpture is a landscape. Looking inside us is a common practice today, and this introspection is a motive that inspires my work, the micro-world of the landscape, the biological landscape. The Slow Pace is a clear example of this, since it can be interpreted as a mountain and/or an animal (…) In this piece, the idea of the transition from the body to the landscape becomes clear. This transition is crucial. My works are usually transparent; the fabric part of the pieces is what confers transparency. In this work, the opposite happens. The content is hidden and the carpet shows its own volume, perhaps symbolizing the volume of something that is concealed. Here, space-time is related more with the tiny knots, the cells, which make up the surface. The piece was made by the COOPA-ROCA women's cooperative. To me, there is something interesting about the time they take to do their work, knot by knot; this is the time they take in revealing the invisible content.”

Please refrain from touching the piece located in the middle of the gallery.

Gallery 205
Tent of dreams

The dark colors used in Stone Lips, Pepper Tits, Clove Love, Fog Frog bring to mind night on Earth, the star-specked sky, nocturnal animalso.

Find out more

In the tradition of the Tupi-Guarani natives who speak this Amerindian language of Rio de Janeiro area, the term oca (house) refers to a communal tent that is built collectively and used by one or more family groups. An oca can also be a meeting place and living area where an entire tribe celebrates rituals and shares their ancestral legacy: a house of knowledge. Neto's oca is a tent inhabited by dreams: this oca is alive; it is an animal in the form of Stone Lips, Pepper Tits, Clove Love, Fog Frog (2008).

In earlier works, Neto used the architecture as a shell. The pieces were the soft part of the “body” and the architecture the membrane or shell covering it. In those works, he added some bone structure and created a room inside a room, and that approach can also be seen in this creation. The dark colors used in Stone Lips, Pepper Tits, Clove Love, Fog Frog bring to mind night on Earth, the star-specked sky, nocturnal animals.

At the entrance to this work, you will see stones stretching the fabric, making the entire piece taut. The presence of two “masculine teardrops” filled with pepper and a “feminine teardrop” filled with clove awaken the visitors' sense of smell and enhance the sensation of daydreaming.

Gallery 204
Eating with the eyes

The details of these photographs, as well as the plants next to them, show the passage of time and ever-growing life.

Find out more

This large color photograph is also a reference to the human body. During a stay in Dallas, Texas, Neto became interested in several sculptures in the Nasher Sculpture Center collection, and he took a series of close-up photographs of them. Neto himself talked about the images: “By taking pictures of sculptures, we can get very close to them, and show details and scratches as well as other particularities. These images had begun to dance with one another, showing their sex and libido, but at the same time remaining innocent and ambiguous.” This is one of those pictures. The little plants on the shelves give the works their full significance, introducing the idea of constantly growing life.

Gallery 209
Nevermind the mess

The artist has devoted a space to his personal, private life.

Find out more

This area is devoted to the artist's personal, private life. In it, Neto has created a white, transparent, luminous tunnel through which visitors can walk. Visitors transform the place with their presence, since their footsteps change the nylon floor. The ceiling, which is also made of nylon, distorts our view of the outside. Ernesto Neto is interested in this sensation of merger, or how our intimate encounters transform us, perhaps into something greater than ourselves.

Dominating the gallery is the piece Womb Chapel Nave II (NaveÚteroCapela II, 2013) a smaller-scale version of the installation which served as the backdrop of the artist's wedding with Lili, his partner (then pregnant with their first child, Lito). Their wedding was held in 2001, during the private opening of the exhibition The Wedding, Lili, Neto, Lito, and the Fools at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. The wedding ceremony, presided over by the artist's friends, included no civil or religious authorities, since Neto viewed his wedding as a public celebration of his intimacy. With the same purpose of sharing his personal life with others, in this gallery the artist shows three screenings: the first contains images that Neto took of his friends at the beach; the second shows pictures taken in his apartment until the wee hours of the night; the third offers some views of Neto's wedding.

Visitors are to take their shoes off to enter this gallery; please, wait for your turn and explore the artworks with the utmost care. A maximum of 10 people are allowed in this gallery at the same time in order to safeguard the pieces. Both in Nave (center) and EggBody (at the far end), a maximum of 5 people may experience each of the works simultaneously.

Ernesto Neto: The Body that Carries Me

There are a number of pieces that welcome physical interaction: climb and lie on them, think on them and even share your experiences with other visitors on them. Museum staff will be on hand to help visitors take part in the experience. For example, in the Atrium, visitors can lie back on a wheeled carts, looking skyward, and contemplating Neto's spectacular work The Falling Body female and Frank Gehry's building from a completely new prospective. Barter Barter in gallery 203 and Drawing Place in gallery 208 will also be brought to life every day from 11 am to 2 pm with the help of Museum staff.


In his creations, Ernesto Neto incorporates a powerful social component from popular Brazilian culture—from traditional knitting to street instruments to fruits and spices… Discover his colors, textures, rhythms, and smells taking part in the workshops we've organized specially for the occasion.


Ernesto Neto: The Body that Carries Me

Activity for Museum Members

Would you like to be involved in setting up part of the exhibition, shooting the spot or taking some of the photographs used to publicize the exhibit?

As Museum Members, you're invited to take part in the unique installation of this exhibit. If you'd like to join in, phone us at 944 359 012 before February 3 and will tell you all about it.

Maximum: 15 people (Museum Members only).


Knitting workshop I: with Ernesto Neto's team

Activity for Museum Members

We're still organizing Do It Yourself! workshops; this time the workshops have to do with the work of Ernesto Neto. To see how he uses knitting in his creations, and taking advantage of the actual setting-up of the exhibition, some of the artist's collaborators will explain how these works are created. This session is open to Museum Members only.

Knitting workshop II

Two-session workshop for beginners

Single-session workshop for intermediate or advanced knitters

The social spirit of the first knitting workshop will continue to grow, adding more workshops for weaving, in which we will create our own designs. Take part in a relaxing and colorful activity while meeting new people and taking home a practical design.

Scent workshop

Single-session workshop

Discover the aromas of the flowers and spices that Ernesto Neto includes in some of his works. The workshop will be led Viki Fernández, director of the Ruiz de Ocenda flower shop and perfumery, and Maddalen Marzol, creator of the fragrance blog El tocador de Dorothy. In this introductory scent workshop you'll create and take home your own personal fragrance.


Free admission

Taking advantage of the presence of Ernesto Neto at the Museum to mark the opening of his exhibition, a lively, attractive and participative lecture will be take place between them, an encounter that promises to be engaging, inspiring and participatory – like Neto's works themselves.


Discover the most relevant works and the secrets behind Ernesto Neto: The Body that Carries Me. Join Museum professionals on a unique guided tour of the exhibition.

This website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience and provide a more personalized service. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to accept our use of cookies.
You can change your cookie settings or receive more information by reading our Cookies Policy.