June 19, 2015 - Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary - Ernesto Neto and the Huni Kuin
June 19, 2015

Ernesto Neto and the Huni Kuin

Left: Drawing: Jose Domingos Kaxinawa. Right: Photo: Marcos Morilla/ LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, 2010.

Ernesto Neto and the Huni Kuin
Aru Kuxipa | Sacred Secret | Sagrado Segredo

June 25–October 25, 2015

Opening: Thursday, June 25, 7pm

Symposium: “The Rise of the Phyto Age,” June 26–27
A symposium on healing, curing, traditional Amazonian medicine, and traditional European practices—on ethnobotany, cultivation, and teaching of plants.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary–Augarten
Scherzergasse 1A
1020 Vienna
Hours: Wednesday–Thursday noon–5pm, 
Friday–Sunday noon–7pm

T +43 1 513 98 56 24
augarten [​at​] tba21.org


In cooperation with Kunsthalle Krems

Aru means secret, sacred. Kuxipa means like a god. Kuxipa is the creator. So Kuxipa for us is the nature: earth, water, forest, wind, sun, moon, paths. All that is nature, all these to us is Kuxipa, sacred. So Aru Kuxipa means all this – sacred ancestors, the sacred ancestry.” 
–Txana Bane

Aru Kuxipa | Sacred Secret | Sagrado Segredo presents a collaborative journey undertaken by the Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto, pajés (spiritual leaders), artists from the Amerindian Huni Kuin peoplefrom the Jordão river, and TBA21. The exhibition unfolds as a pioneering experiment, establishing a zone of encounter with our “ancestral futures,” an investigation of the teachings of plants, and the spiritual nature of being. It marks a crucial extension of the concerns that have been evident in Neto’s oeuvre over the past 20 years: a celebration of the sensuality of life, the unity of bodies and nature, and a search for deeper forms of union and correspondences. 

The spiritual center of the exhibition is demarcated by a kupixawa, a newly created communal space of gathering, sheltering shamanic rituals, celebrations, and individual contemplation, combined with earlier major works by the artist from TBA21′s collection. Venerated Huni Kuin pajés, plant masters, and artists are residing in Vienna for the preparation and initiation of the exhibition and during several residencies and enter into dialogue with Neto’s artistic language through a diversity of knowledge, expressions, and experiences: music, songs, drawings, weavings, rituals, herbaria, use of medical and sacred plants, “teacher plants,” and everyday objects. 

Likewise, the accompanying symposium “The Rise of the Phyto Age” engages with the Huni Kuin’s oral ancestral knowledge of healing plants and their sacred spiritual philosophy, published in Portuguese and the Hatxa Kuĩ language in Una Isĩ Kayawa (“Book of Healing”) by Editora Dantes in collaboration with the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden Research Institute (JBRG). Initiated by pajés of the Huni Kuin, the symposium fuses age-old Amazonian medicine and curing rituals with European healing traditions and contextualizes anthropological and ethnobotanical perspectives as well as exploring the ecological, economic, and political dimensions of the cultivation of “teacher plants.”

Una Isĩ Kayawa contains descriptions of the 109 plant species used in the indigenous therapies of the Huni Kuin and their curative properties, Aru Kuxipa “initiates” the English translation of the book in Vienna and engages with the large universe of indigenous knowledge, which has been unknown or sidelined and exoticized for centuries.

Unfolding in several institutional venues and over two continents, this collaborative exhibition involves partners in both Austria and Brazil. While the Kunsthalle Krems focuses on a retrospective view of Neto’s nearly two decades of artistic production, TBA21 showcases the artist’s latest explorations.

Ema Kaiser-Brandstätter: ema.kaiser [​at​] tba21.org / T +43 1 513 98 56 55

Ernesto Neto and the Huni Kuin at Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
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