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Um dia todos fomos peixes

Ernesto Neto
Um dia todos fomos peixes, 2017
Cotton crochet, cotton knit crochet, polyamide tulle, polyamide sock, cotton tulle, semiprecious stones, wooden pins, raw cotton blanket, pot and ceramic pot gravel
Work: 400 x 800 x 10008 cm

Ernesto Neto’s large-scale immersive sculpture Um dia todos fomos peixes (One Day We Were all Fish), commissioned for the Blueproject Foundation in Barcelona, is a knitted blue net scented with aromatic spices, inviting visitors to be present and relax within the atmosphere created by the work. As the title and aesthetic of the sculpture suggest, Um dia todos fomos peixes draws much of its inspiration from the ocean. For Neto, the ocean has been a point of fascination since childhood, making it the perfect source material for his ongoing inquiry into the relationships between the human body and natural landscapes. The netting of the work itself is an abstracted representation of a giant fish, an idea which struck Neto during a ceremony in Brazil lead by the spiritual leader Álvaro Tukano. ‘He said, in the beginning, the Tukanos were fish, just a spine immersed in water,’ says Neto, recalling the experience. The teacher went on to describe how this was the origin of life on earth; a fact Neto saw echoed in our scientific understanding of the world, representing for him a continuity between these ‘two different fountains of knowledge. Inspired by this realization, Neto created Um dia todos fomos peixes as a ‘metaphor and a desire to encounter our ancestry and absolute connection to nature, the nature that we are.’ By creating an immersive space that evokes the flow of the ocean, Neto’s installation reminds us of our inextricable connection to water and the ocean, encouraging audiences ‘to meditate and reconnect to the time we all were fish.’