Jorge Manilla (Mexico / Belgium)
Jorge Manilla, the son 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. But it was until he moved to Belgium, years later, where he enrolled at the Karel de Grote Academy in Antwerp, that he was forced to forget about the traditional notion he had to jewellery, to let his technical skills aside and to research about the cultural meaning of jewellery, its conceptual possibilities and to experiment with materials and techniques .
Manilla’s vast production, is both utterly beautiful and profoundly upsetting. Attraction, repulsion, uneasiness: his work confronts him with his religious upbringing and 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, branded leather and silver are amalgamated and transformed into almost recognizable shapes: a probable anatomical part, a series of tiny bundles that could be small babies, an unknown religious utensil. Manilla is not shy to experiment with all kinds of materials and processes, never leaving aside his extraordinary metalsmithing skills. Each one of his pieces is carefully crafted in a variety of processes that are able to convey his rotund ideas.