Tightrope walking is a skill I have yet to master. Thankfully, Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto created his piece, Kink, for some spirited circus play through his “Cuddle on the Tightrope” sculpture, now on display at the Nasher Sculpture Center through September 9, 2012.
Neto is well-known for his large, biomorphic fabric installations that fill exhibition spaces and welcome visitor interaction. For the Nasher exhibition, Neto and his assistants created a worm-like, free-standing piece that extends for almost the entire length of the main gallery. Red, yellow, orange and blue polyester and polypropylene rope are crocheted over freestanding aluminum arches. The floor of the piece is made up of polypropylene balls housed inside of crocheted sacks. Neto’s been creating and exhibiting these interactive, organic sculptures since the mid-1990’s. Considered a bit of a modern day Brazilian Neo Concretist, Neto’s emphasis on nature, sensuality and playfulness invite viewers to set aside their traditional notions of sculpture and become a part of the art works he creates.
When I entered the gallery for Kink, a friendly Nasher assistant requested that I replace my shoes with a pair of disposable booties before walking through the piece. Your kids (or the kid in you) will love this part. As my inner child grabbed hold of the crochet walls for balance, I took my first tentative steps onto the bobbing floor. Feeling quite silly at first, I realized that all the other adults ahead of me probably felt just as silly. While studying the intensive crochet work that serves as the skin of the piece, I couldn’t help but observe the reactions of the other participants who were inside this sculptural creation with me. Cuddling together, they giggled and whispered as the bouncing floor reacted to their steps and their laughter.
Exiting Kink, I turned around and stared at what I just experienced: a piece of art that beckoned me inside, brought my inner child to the surface, allowed me to walk all over it, pull on it and cling to its netted, fleshy walls. It even gave me a Stevie Ray Vaughn ear worm. You know the song … My interaction with this crocheted form of reality completed the artistic experience and stimulated my curiosity for more Neto sculptures.
Although begging for your touch, Kink remains a free-standing sculpture in its own right. But if you go for a visit, be sure to take a friend you don’t mind falling into.
Embrace the sensual fun.
Cuddle on the tightrope, huh? Kinky, indeed, Mr. Neto.