Ernesto Neto (Brazilian, b.1964) is a contemporary visual artist known for creating vast sculptures out of white stocking-like material that he fills with various items, such as Styrofoam or scented spices. His inspiration comes from the Brazilian Neoconcretism movement that was prevalent in the late 1950s, and his installations often fill the entire exhibition area. In fact, Leviathan Thot, Neto's 2006 installation at the Pantheon in Paris, France, stretched from the top of the building's 200-foot-high dome ceiling all the way to the floor. The Abstract exhibits are designed to encourage visitors to become active participants; people can touch, poke, and even walk through most of his artwork.
Neto was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was in Rio de Janeiro that he attended the Escola de Artes Visuais Pargua Lage, and had his first solo exhibition at the Petit Galerie in 1988. His popularity grew throughout Brazil, and, by the early 1990s, Neto had been featured in solo exhibitions in both Sao Paulo and Sergio Porto. In 1996, he had his first solo exhibitions abroad. His installations were displayed at the Zolla Gallery in Chicago, IL, the Christopher Grimes Gallery in Santa Monica, California, and the Elba Benitea Galeria in Madrid, Spain. In 1997, Neto's work was displayed at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York, NY, the Christopher Grimes Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, Galeria Pedro Oliveira in Porto, Portugal, and Galeria Camargo Vilaga in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2000, Neto was awarded the CENTRAL Art Prize in Cologne, Germany, by the CENTRAL Health Insurance Company, in cooperation with Kolnischer Kunstverein.
Some of Neto's best-known installations include Directions-Ernesto Neto, displayed at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., Four Artists and I, displayed at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny, Ireland, Anthropodino, displayed at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, NY; Edges of the World, displayed at the Hayward Gallery in London, UK, and Dancing Allowed, displayed at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH. Neto has been awarded the chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.