Copulônia (1989) is a seminal piece in Ernesto Neto’s career. Beginning at its realization, the artist mapped interests which came to define not only his future work, but also his contribution to the young history of contemporary art: the sensitive comprehension of geometric abstraction, an inheritance from neoconcretism; the notion of sculpture composed of many parts, as opposed to the monolithic piece; the use of playful forms. Neto’s sculptural practice came to be characterized by operations that initially arose here, such as the tension of textile materials, especially elastic stockings. Notions such as opacity and transparency, tension and rest, weight and lightness, fullness and void, whole and part, body and landscape create relationships that are not necessarily in mutual opposition. The work being shown now at Inhotim is a remake by the artist of the original piece, 20 years after its first and only presentation. Its title makes reference to the “cópula” (term used by the artist to characterize a kind of element, present in the work, in which two parts interpenetrate each other, as in copulation) and “colônia” (a section of the work in which the elements are together, as in colony). Other units appear among the 82 pieces that make up this artwork – the “Passo” [step], the “Namoro” [amorous encounter], the “Prumo” [plumb bob] and the “Peso” [weight] – and make allusions that range from dance to civil construction.


  • Title: Copulônia
  • Creator Lifespan: 1964
  • Creator Nationality: Brazilian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Birth Place: Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro
  • Date Created: 1989
  • Physical Dimensions: w950 x h500 x d690 mm
  • Type: Installation
  • Rights: Inhotim Collection, Brazil, Eduardo Eckenfels
  • Medium: Lead spheres and polyamide
  • Multimedia artist: Ernesto Neto

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