“If the sacred serpent had not offer[ed] the fruit of the knowledge tree, the apple love, to Eve, and told her to share it with Adam, they would be till today in the Paradise beautiful, and we, where would we be? There would not be we, you and me, none of us. So, the boa serpent gave birth to humanity.” This handwritten statement, welcoming visitors to Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s immersive take on the Garden of Eden, put forward a novel interpretation of the Book of Genesis. Scrawled on the gallery wall, the text characterized the serpent not as a trickster but as a primordial generative forcethe basis of creation.
The environs of Neto’s show were inviting: It was impossible to avoid the pleasure of walking barefoot over the soft, bright-yellow carpet that lined the gallery floor. Neto had painted the walls a comfortable, earthy brown, and hung them with intricate woven
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