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Ernesto Neto: The Edges of the World exhibition Review

October 5, 2010

“The edges of the World” is a large scale instillation at the Hayward Gallery in London. Tunnels and towers made from jigsaw-like wooden components form the framework for the structure of the main piece, with a material similar to Lycra tights stretched over the wood, creating winding tunnels and arches.

I really liked this work as it’s playful and interesting to walk around. It’s quite dreamlike and surreal but has an organic feel to it – with all the wooden castle structures slotting together without the use of nails or bolts. There was a lot of attention to detail and I was impressed by the sturdiness of the frames and how they fit together even without the use of the usual hardware.

The colours used were in pastel hues and this added to the dream-like atmosphere of the piece which meant it was not too bright and garish and too in your face.

There was also a usable pool outside which I thought was really good idea to get people interacting with the piece. In another section, you could remove your shoes and wander around or sit on squidgy seating, adding to the interaction between viewer and artwork. It was interesting and there was a safe kind of feeling about the place, in juxtaposition to the name of the show, which to me suggests a barren, wilderness type of place. This was enhanced by the materials used – the Lycra is thick enough to create a barrier, but is still thin enough to see through, and this makes me feel quite safe. It was also quite amusing as its double layered material – with little tunnels in-between, connecting the layers – so people kept sticking their hands through to surprise people.

It seemed to remind me of Dr. Seuss a bit as it’s surreal but fun and a little wacky. There were also lots of children enjoying it which I think is important: for art to communicate well and be understood or at least enjoyed by a wide range of people. 


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