The organic sensuality and ethereal sensibility of Neto's work are inspired by the mid-century Brazilian Neo-Concrete movement. Founded in 1959 by the artists Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark, among others, the Rio-based Neo-Concrete group conceived of artworks as organic living organisms and eschewed a machinelike, geometric aesthetic. Neto likewise proposes an organic relationship between life, nature, art, and science, creating anthropomorphic, microscopic-looking organic structures at a macroscopic level. In Lonely Deserts Neto depicts two curvilinear, membranal forms floating side by side in a layer of translucent substance. Surrounding the entities are dark, sinuous forms that penetrate their walls, suggesting fertilization by spermatozoa.
Organic forms are also prominent in Neto's sculptures and installations, in which he re-creates on a large scale the inner surfaces of the human body—skin and intestinal tissues—with materials such as Lycra, foam, cotton, and nylon. His fabric sculptures are often filled with spices and exude aromatic scents that evoke memory and encourage human interaction. By creating associations with the human body, Neto's artwork ultimately connects the viewer to humanity's inner structure.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art , p. 234.