Renowned brazilian artist ernesto neto has unveiled GaiaMotherTree, a monumental installation that aims to bring the spirit of the amazonian rainforest inside zurich’s central station. organized by the fondation beyeler, the project sees a twenty-meter high sculpture extending right up to the ceiling of the station concourse. its see-through structure is made of brightly colored hand-knotted cotton strips and resembles a majestic tree.
with nearly half a million people passing through the site daily, neto’s immersive installation functions as a meeting place and a venue for interaction and meditation. shaped like the crown of a tree, the upper part of the work covers the ceiling of the station while at the base of the tree visitors can find a space to linger and rests on seats arranged in a circle. to complete the experience, drop-shaped elements hanging from the branches are filled with aromatic spices and dried leaves.
‘the idea is to slow down our time, for us to have time to breathe and feel life inside of us,’ comments neto on GaiaMotherTree.
in recent years, neto’s series of works — including this one — have been realized in cooperation with the huni kuin, an indigenous community living in the amazon region near the brazilian border with peru. their culture and customs, knowledge and craft skills, together with their aesthetic sense, values, world view and spiritual connection with nature, have transformed the artist’s conception of art and become integral elements in his artistic practice.