7 | The Jaguar’Shadows, 2009

Ernesto Neto is famed for creating large enveloping sculptures and installations. Yet although he describes himself as a sculptor, he often works with two-dimensional expressions. The work before you is a wall installation consisting of organically shaped MDF-elements cut with a laser. The wood’s black-burned edges are telltale signs of the technical process of cutting with a laser beam.
Even though this work keeps to a two-dimensional plane, its bio-morph forms suggest dance and organic movement. Perhaps you will think of the sensuous lines of Jean Arp’s paintings and sculptures, or Joan Miro’s whimsical and surreal masterpieces.
As in so many of his productions, we see a tendency to simplify the expression and to use democratic or everyday materials, for in the final analysis, this piece consists only of a few simple lines executed in ordinary building materials. But even so, the work allows for rich storytelling. The cutout forms might look like a jaguar’s spots. The jaguar is a hunter – both feared and admired throughout history. The large cat has also played an important role in religion, for it was used by shamen as a spiritual figure of transition.
Thus this simple wall work can be related to Neto’s organic visual language, to his use of ordinary materials, but it can also allude to religious rituals practiced in Brazilian and South American cultures for centuries.