Ernesto Neto. Navedenga (installation view at The Museum of Modern Art, 2010). 1998. Polyamide stretch fabric, sand, Styrofoam, cloves, cord, and ribbon, 144 × 180 × 252″ (365.8 × 457.2 × 640.1 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Donald L. Bryant, Jr. Photo: Thomas Griesel

Since the late 1990s, Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto (b. 1964) has created interactive, immersive sculptural environments using translucent, stretchable fabric. Navedenga (1998), acquired for the Museum’s collection in 2007 and on view for the first time in the galleries, is one of the earliest pieces from this evolving body of work. With its taut contours, rounded appendages, and soft, pliant surface, the installation resembles both the intimate spaces of a body and a fantastical spacecraft; its title, a neologism coined by the artist, recalls the Portuguese word for ship, nave. The artist embedded aromatic cloves within the structure, and visitors are invited inside its hollow chamber to engage their visual, tactile, and olfactory senses. Male and female; internal and external; weight and ethereality—Navedenga encompasses a profusion of symbiotic oppositions.

Organized by Doryun Chong, Associate Curator, and Nora Lawrence, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture.

This installation is made possible by BNP Paribas.

Installation views

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