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Ernesto Neto. Gaiamothertree, 2018. Zurich Main Station. Fondation Beyeler. Photo: Mark Niedermann

Ernesto Neto. Gaiamothertree, 2018. Zurich Main Station. Fondation Beyeler. Photo: Mark Niedermann

GaiaMotherTree by Ernesto Neto organized by the Fondation Beyeler Zurich Main Station


Zurich, Switzerland

From June 30 to the end of July, 2018, the Fondation Beyeler presents the project GaiaMotherTree by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto (Rio de Janeiro, 1964) in the Zurich Main Station. It consists of a walk-in structure that serves as a place of encounter, interaction, and meditation. In addition, a diverse program of events has been organized for adults and children inside the installation, including music, workshops, talks, and guided tours.

Entirely handmade, GaiaMotherTree was created by knotting together vividly colored strips of cotton using a finger-crocheting technique to form a giant translucent structure. Shaped like the crown of a tree, the upper section of the piece covers the twenty-meter-high ceiling of the station concourse. A large space at the base of the tree allows visitors to rest on seats arranged in a circle. Additionally, drop-shaped elements hanging from branches are filled with aromatic spices and dried leaves.

In connection with this public art project, the Fondation Beyeler is showing a series of earlier sculptures by Neto in its central exhibition gallery. Major works works from the 1980s and 1990s are complemented by the piece Altar para una planta (Altar for a Plant, 2017), exhibited in the grounds of the museum.

GaiaMotherTree is a piece influenced by Neto's collaborations (since 2013) with the Huni Kuin, and indigenous community living in the Amazon region near the Brazilian border with Peru. The culture and customs of the Huni Kuin people, their knowledge and manual skills, aesthetic sensibility, values, worldview, as well as their spiritual connection with nature, have transformed Neto's conception of art and have become integral elements of his artistic practice. The works inspired by artistic and spiritual exchanges invite viewers to pause and reflect, in addition to encouraging them to be collectively involved in themes such as the relationships between human beings and nature, sustainability and conservation, and the dissemination of knowledge from other cultures.



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