11 | Periplasmapylea, 2003
Roll this title around your mouth: Peri-plasma-pylea. What does it mean? The word has no immediate meaning, but if you divide it into smaller units, it is a combination of the greek word peri meaning about or around, then comes plasma, which would describe some sort of thick liquid-like matter and then pylea, wich means an entryway or door opening of some sort. Put together it sounds like it denoutes an amorphous object with more than one orifice. The work doesn’t resemble any recognizable form, but suggests a connection to the plant or animal kingdom; could it be a detail seen through a microscope? The heavily perforated structure is stretched across the wall rather like a giant insect. But instead of hanging it up with pins, Neto has used wooden plugs. This is actually one of the first works where he combines wood and textiles. After creating it, he started using wooden structures as important elements in larger works. But here, for the first time, we see it used as a natural extension of transparent, elastic textiles.
While developing this work, Neto was inspired by Ernst Haeckel, a German philosopher, scientist and artist. Haeckel was an important proponent of Darwin’s theories in 19th century Germany, and his illustrations of single-celled organisms have been sources of inspiration for many artists, both in the 19th century and later. Haeckel’s drawings revealed details in nature which most of his contemporaries had never seen before; and even today, his accurate drawings are captivating and colourful. Similarly, Neto has clearly been fascinated by the magic and beauty of nature’s minute details, and has transposed his fascination for small, organic miracles into this wall work.
The sculpture’s two colours, pink and green, symbolize nature and culture, the organic world contrasted with what humans have created. These complimentary colours recur and reverberate throughout Neto’s art.
Periplasmapylea instantiates that Neto’s art functions on different levels, and that your sensory experience of it can arise when you view a sculpture hanging on the wall just as easily as when you physically integrate with his larger sculptures.