Opening exhibition - April-June 2018
Achiel Pauwels - Caroline Andrin - Jorge Manilla
Jorge Manilla of a family of Mexican goldsmiths and engravers, studied visual arts at the Academy of San Carlos, in Mexico. He received a highly technical jewellery training at the Academy of Craft and Design from the Mexican Institute of Fine Arts. In 2003 he earned a Bachelor degree in sculpture at The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Ghent and enrolled one year later at St Lucas University College of Art and Design Ghent, where he got in 2006 a Master degree” Jewellery and Silversmithing”.
Alongside his professional activities as artist, he worked as researcher at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. He taught and gives workshops at different Art and Design universities around the world, e.g. Studio Alchimia (Firenze) and the Oslo National Academy of Arts, where he is today Head of the Jewellery Department.
His work is almost permanently on display in international exhibitions, for instance in the Racine Art Museum (USA), with its intriguing collection contemporary crafts, in Mexico, Bangkok in the ATTA gallery, in the iconic Amsterdam Galerie RA, in Galerie and Studio Platina in Stockholm and Valencia in the School of Arts and Design.
Manilla’s work is profoundly upsetting. Attraction, repulsion, uneasiness: it confronts the viewer with a powerful and intimate perception of the syncretic religion of the modern Mexico. Allusions to religious images and iconography that show the often tortuous and painful relations that Mexicans have with their faith. Wood, bones, textile, burned leather and silver are amalgamated and transformed into almost recognizable shapes. Jorge Manilla is not shy to experiment with all kinds of materials, ceramics included, but each one of his pieces is carefully crafted in a variety of processes to express his ideas. The rings “Hommage to … “ are ceramic relics made with pieces of textile from statues of Santa Muerta, Holy Death, a saint for the working-class and poor in Mexican society. She is a merge between the Catholic Virgin and the Aztec Godess Mictecacihuatl. Over the last years the artist has rediscovered the colour black. Black is the end, but the end always implies a new beginning. When light appears, black becomes white, the color of new beginnings.