And when Neto came to prominence in the international artworld in the late 1990s, it was with his hanging installations made with soft, half-transparent materials. They were stretched and pulled with the weight and bulk of different substances. Other times it is styrophome that demonstrates the effects of gravity. Perhaps the most impressive sculpture in this series is the enormous Leviathan Thot, which Neto created for the Pantheon in Paris in 2006. Hanging from the former cathedral’s powerful arches, Neto’s organic forms functioned as overpowering reminders of the presence of nature in the sacral space. Simple and light as a dream…the gravity don’t lie…just loves time, was a work Neto created the same year for a white-cubed gallery space. But in contrast to the white installation in the Pantheon, this second work was characterized by complimentary colours. In the work before you, the green colour represents nature while the orange or skin-like colour can represent human presence or culture. These two forces are central to the work, for aided by the colours, it emphasizes tension and an emanating sensuality.
8 | Simple and light as a dream…the gravity don’t lie…just loves time, 2006
Walking underneath this sculpture is like looking up into a gigantic, abstract body. The pendulous forms might call to mind genitalia or ripe fruit. Green and orange membrane-like surfaces bulge with the weight of glass beads and styrophome balls to create a sensory whole. Neto has often described the human body as his main source of inspiration; especially ideas about skin and internal organs have functioned as starting points for his art.
Early on Neto recognized the potential of textiles as artistic material. When he, as a youth, began exploring sculptural media, he quickly discovered the possibilities that flexible textiles offer for exploring physical conditions and relations. Even in his early works he used different textiles, often in combination with other media, when carrying out formal experiments.