Neto’s practice draws from Biomorphism and minimalist sculpture, along with Neo-concretism and other Brazilian vanguard movements of the 1960s & 70s. The result is an inimitable body of work that both references and incorporates organic shapes and materials such as spices, sand and shells in order to engage all five senses, producing a new type of sensory perception that renegotiates boundaries between artwork and viewer, the organic and manmade, the natural, spiritual and social worlds.
In 2011, Neto opened his first survey exhibition at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey in Mexico. Titled La lengua de ernesto: retrospectiva 1987-2011, the exhibition later travelled to Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City in 2013. The artist also presented important solo exhibitions at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (2012), Faena Arts Center in Buenos Aires, which traveled to Estação Leopoldina in Rio de Janeiro (2011-2012), Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre in London (2010) Museum of Modern Art in New York (2010); Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art in Oslo (2010), Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art (2010), Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma in Italy (2008), Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2002), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (2002), among others. In 2009 Neto exhibited a new work at New York’s Park Avenue Armory called anthropodino and in 2017 Neto was prominently featured in Vive Arte Viva at the 57th Venice Biennale curated by Christine Macel. Neto’s work can be found in the permanent collections of Tate in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, among others.