One of National Gallery of Victoria’s newest international contemporary acquisitions is Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s “The Island Bird”. It’s an interactive, immersive installation which will delight young and old.
“The Island Bird,” enables visitors to enter within the exhibit by climbing into a 10m wide roof-mounted, hanging network of rope tunnels.
The ropes are hand-knotted together using a traditional craft technique to create a suspended nest. It’s quite incredible that these thin threads are able to hold the weight of thousands of rubber balls and several humans (only five people are allowed inside at once).
It’s an unusual vantage point to be able to look out from an artwork into the gallery space, breaking down the traditional divide between art and the viewer. The mesh of tropical colours gives a different vista at every turn.
At the back of the tunnel is a resting area with knotted cushions and informal seating where you can relax and rest. In fact, the gentle swinging of the work as people move in and around The Island Bird is quite soothing.
The Island Bird is a fun way to get really involved in art. It’s also a beautiful structure for calmer, more meditative moments as you hover in the air, gently swaying.
The Island Bird by Ernesto Neto, 3rd floor, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road Melbourne