One of the exhibitions of the summer, Ernesto Neto’s environment encompasses the outdoor terraces as well as the entire upper floor of the Hayward Gallery.
The installations encourage interaction from the audience, going as far as swimming in the circular outdoor pool (numbers strictly limited – it isn’t very big). The terraces are aspects of a park with the reinterpretation of common elements of lake, monument and garden walk.
Inside, wooden skeletal structures with fabric provide a totally immersive experience. Wandering through the layers of colour and light is quite magical. It’s playful and energising; watching others react is also part of the fun. I loved seeing people treading gingerly on the suspended flooring in their socks, peeking around corners, sniffing the camomile and lavender in the walls and putting their hands through the many holes.
Colours are intense yet with subtle layering due to the translucence of his characteristic mesh fabric. Imagine being in a world of stretched coloured tights.
If you want to experience the power of colour you could do worse than visit this show. It is all-enveloping in a way seldom available to most of us.