Jorge Manilla : Introduction
I’m Jorge Manilla I was born in Mexico city where had my first contact with jewellery. After I finished my studies I went to belgium to discover a new point of view about jewels.
It was not easy and sometimes very confronting ,but I’m very glad I made this desicion,
This blog will be a fantastic opportunity to tell you how this change came;
thaks Valeria and Andrea for all the organization.
sorry for not being in contact earlier but I have been DE-PLACED again – means – working abroad, away, somewhere else, not exactly where my family and friends are and where my preferred place is right now. It has been very intense, also very good but exhausting. Travelling, though one meets so many people, can be a quite lonely business. It needs flexibility and the ability to focus regardless where you are. One has to rely on resting in oneself … something I seem to have learned over the past twenty odd years. …. which brings me to the subject of migration.
yes, I suppose if you weren’t born in a taxi and brought up on the road everybody is ‘from home’. ‘Home’ is a vague place, most times more of a memory of a place then a place. ‘Home’ is a concept, something universal. So is the idea of migration – migrating means nothing but moving on and this does not even mean changing place. Moving itself is probably the most natural thing ‘one does’ – regardless; it can be with purpose, by accident or chance or in blissful innocence. Migrating to me means also changing context, physically or in ones mind, it can be a forced migration as a way of survival, an escape or a deliberate active act of looking for new territories, meaning or purpose.
Actually I was born in a hospital in the very north of Germany, not a ‘home’. But I grow up at home, which meant ‘in a somehow save place’ which was lovely as it was warm and I had my own bed, which is not necessarily a criteria for home, however. Going to school was somehow like forced migration – nothing I did with great pleasure… When I left ‘home’ at the ago of 18 to do an apprenticeship it was like opening the first of many ‘worlds’ I wanted to explore – and at the age of 18 I had already travelled far – in my mind, but also by taking my bicycle to many countries and after walking far.
Maybe let us talk about that…
Hello christoph, I m sorry I haven’t written to you before,but I was very busy….
Let us talk about Migration…when I have to think about this , always have I to think about home.
For me “home” they are all concepts and ideas that always go with you and that they had an influence in your life … I am called this “Cultural References”
Are they these references those who make us understand in a different way the life?
For example, when I came to Belgium, and was talking to people about some topic, I saw that although we talked about the same thing we had a different interpretation of our words,firs I had the idea it is because I can’t talk the lenguage but then when I could speak the lenguage I realized it wasn’t the language but the cultural references.
this is the way I use to find my home in this country ,I forget never where I come from and I try to find the balance between my past and my new influences, whit what I see and what I do, I try to use this influences when I make my work; and is fascinating to see how people react to each piece to its symbolism and meaning.
this is the reason why I love to work whit jewellery.Jorge
I present to you a fantastic Mexico-American performancer Guillermo Gomez Peña with his presentation EXTERMINATOR , always shows the fusion of cultures and the advantages and disadvantages they carry.
For me to work and walk through life looking for inspiration in itself a happening and that is what for me makes the jewelry so complex that not only has to do with the process of creation but also with the visual communication when be used.
Today I was looking for inspiration and found a poem of Aztec culture that I like to share with you…..
I am came,oh my friends,
with necklaces I entwine you,
with feathers of the macaw I adorn you,
a precious bird,I dress with feathers,
I paint with gold,I embrace mankind.
Whit trembling quetzal feathers,
with circlets of song,
I give myself to the community.
I will carry you with me to the palace
where we all,someday,
all must betake ourselves,
to the region of the dead.
Our life has only been
loaned to us!!
yes, great picture, but also an image impossible to fully appreciate if you are NOT Mexican. I like the iconography, the irony too and the huge amount of object-symbols used and I think I can also see all the references to popular culture, Hollywood etc. …
however, without what you call ‚cultural references’ this image/artist is difficult to fully ‘read’ by someone with another cultural background – and if I comment this image, it may or may not reveal a big misunderstanding. The artists’ intention may be far away from the onlooker’s interpretation…
Jorge, is this important to you? Is it important to you that your pieces are talked about the way you thought about them?
When I look at your work I see the work of a storyteller, I see layers of narration and I make up my own story about these relics. So I fall for the myth you create… but strongest I feel ‘a million years of Catholicism’, yes, to me quite a few pieces of your work I saw radiate these cultural references. So it is not Mexico alone but this European religion-export that has lead to the myth I felt when I recently saw the pieces you exhibited in Stockholm.
We talked about migration and where we are from, I now think that it is not just nationality but the past religious history that have strongly defined our cultural identities … and lead to all the misunderstandings you felt when talking in another language, now, that you are living in Belgium.
I worked in the French part of Switzerland and struggled to make myself understood. For 12 years I lived in England and learned to believe that language is ‘just’ a tool. But it is a tool one has to sharpen and use with creativity and wit. So misuse and abuse of the tool is ok too – if it serves a purpose. Misunderstandings may sharpen the thinking. The misleading use of words can be an attractive strategy to work with when creating a formal vocabulary as an artist. I like to think of language in such a slightly subversive way. As an artist I enjoy the imaginative and often improper use of language.
For me it is important that my work keeps people wondering and talking and I don’t think this happens when the work is too vague and arbitrary or too direct or didactic.
I am still surprised when people talk about my work the way I thought about it when making it. It feels great when someone can really unveil the various aspects of thoughts and feelings that made up my work.
Very rarely I get strange feedback, usually by people untouched by any form of art education, …
… which leads me to the predictable conclusion, that Art is a universal cultural phenomena and that any culture can be studied. The discourse about Art needs to be practiced and learned: Therefore … four thoughts …
- Art is a language – the artist can choose to talk in a regional, national or universal language.
- Art is a tool for people without language
- Art is a perfect tool for dis-paced or mis-placed people, for migrants and refugees, for homeless and cultural nomads
- Art can become a mother tongue, regardless where you are
this has been much more fun to talk in real-time – with a real person – we finally met – on SKYPE !!!!!
after a good FOUR hours talk while seeing you and listening to a real voice it feels much better. Actually it has been a pleasure and we talked about a lot of important stuff. … and here comes the best… without the public listening in !!!!!
if you want to exchange UNFINISHED THOUGHTS, the old fashioned way of talking while looking at each other is still the way. Just a pity I didn’t have the chance to offer you a chilled beer.
We will both be away next week, so I hope we meet thereafter on skype again and try to also do some ‘to the point’ blogging…
enjoy the rest of the evening…