Monday, June 15, 2009

Ernesto Neto: anthropodino

On Friday, I went to the Park Avenue Armory to view Ernesto Neto's interactive sculpture anthropodino, and let me tell you, I've never seen anything like this before.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the Armory was the smell. I couldn't place it at first, but soon discovered that it was the combination of plywood, clove, cumin, ginger, lavender, red pepper, black pepper, and chamomile, all of which, when smelled together inside of the Armory, created a scent that I would love to bottle up and have in my home. It was the type of smell you could happily curl up and live in, and it was the result of the large, aromatic "fabric stalactites" made out of translucent, multicolored polyamide tulle (kind of like stockings), that were filled with spices and hung around the exhibit. So while smell was the first sense to be engaged, it was by no means the last.

Walking into the main space of the Armory where anthropodino was installed, the experience was that of viewing a colorful cavernous landscape straight out of a combination science fiction/underwater world. Besides the pendulant stalactites full of spices that, depending upon which one you happened to be standing under, smelled various amounts of amazing, there was also the bone-like main structure, made out of the same stretchy tulle, composed of multicolored passages for visitors to walk through.

And let me tell you, I'm pretty sure that every parent with a young child in New York City was visiting the Armory on the afternoon I was there, running and crawling through every inch of the space. Not that I minded, as they all seemed so excited to be there. Unfortunately, this meant that some of the more tactile parts of the exhibit, including a foam ball pit, a textured, brightly-colored and patterned floor, a smaller, womb-like structure, and an area that looked like a very comfortable, giant, round bean bag, had long lines and lots of children to contend with. Everyone seemed to be extremely excited to be there, mainly, because I think that it was such a unique experience to be able to view an installation that's both so interactive and so sensory at the same time. Everything about anthropodino made you want to luxuriate in the amazing sensory overload that it offered. Engaging three out of the five senses: sight, touch and smell, this was a truly unique experience. Sadly, anthropodino closed on Sunday, but you can see some more of the images from the installation on the Armory website here.

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