Spirit Vessels

‘Spirit Vessels’ is a new series of sculptures by artist Jorge Mañes Rubio. These works explore the ancestral idea of material culture being embedded with a life force, a spiritual quality that is activated through ceremonial exchange, ancestor worship and other forms of ritual. While occupying a physical space in our world, the meaning and real purpose of these objects is to open new ways of communication between humans and an intangible dimension; to mediate in an endless negotiation between two distinct yet inseparable realms.

Bright colours, bold textures and a wide range of materials —from plastic gemstones and glass beads to clay, sand and raw pigments— bestow these objects a humble, undeniable familiarity. Their gracious names suggest a certain awareness, as if striking up intimate conversations with us. In fact, these images speak to us about human renovation and the possibility of finding comfort in times of upheaval. With Spirit Vessels, the artist acknowledges an ever changing, interconnected spiritual dimension without which we cannot exist nor find purpose, emphasizing the role humans have played from times immemorial in maintaining a fragile cosmic balance.

New Work

Making the Invisible Visible (Moon Rays)⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣
From the Peak of Eternal Light series, 2020. 205x140x80cm
Iridescent & PP colour films

Making the Invisible Visible (Moon Rays)⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ is the latest piece from the series Peak of Eternal Light. In it, colourful shiny bands flow from top to bottom, represent the connection with the spirit world, making the invisible visible in a hypothetical lunar world. The work reflects on the power of shamans, more specifically those shamans who collaborated with the artist during his residency at the National Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art in Korea. In their practice, colourful costumes and props are used to contact specific spirits and gods, becoming sacred ritual objects. This artwork explores the existence of such objects and ritual practices in a future context outside our planet. 

“There’s a mysterious light in their bodies, a vibrant fire that allows them to see through darkness and perceive things and coming events that are hidden from the eyes of others. Through these colourful rays of light they are exposed to the full power of the forces of the cosmos. They can see the spirits and communicate with them. They can see the souls of the dead and even hear them speaking. They can, in fact, see, hear, and know everything. Spirits are attracted to them because of their shining quality; they see them in the form of shining bodies that draw them and make them wish to go and live inside of them, giving them their own strength, sight and knowledge.”⁣⁣

Peak of Eternal Light at ‘To the Moon and Back’, Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia

To the Moon and Back celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Within the heritage-listed Ballarat Municipal Observatory and Museum, a diverse group of international artists bring their individual voices to a contemporary exploration of the continuing relevance of the historic 1969 lunar landing and its lasting photographic legacy.

Even with today’s developing technology, photography, in all its variants, continues to provide audiences with insights into our only natural satellite. Featuring Andrew Curtis (Aus), Vincent Fournier (France), Sharon Harper (USA), Sasha Huber (Switzerland), Penelope Umbrico (USA), Qicong Lin (China), Matt Lipps (USA) and Jorge Mañes Rubio (Spain).

This project is supported by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst

Peak of Eternal Light at ‘The Moon’, Royal Greenwich Museums, London

To celebrate 50 years since NASA’s Apollo 11 mission landed the first humans on the Moon, the National Maritime Museum at the Royal Greenwich Museums in London stages The Moon, the UK’s biggest exhibition dedicated to Earth’s nearest celestial neighbour – opening on 19 July 2019. Jorge Mañes Rubio’s iconic Moon Temple will be featured along with other artworks by artists such as El Anatsui and Chris Ofili.

Featuring over 180 objects from national and international museums and private collections, the exhibition presents a cultural and scientific story of our relationship with the Moon over time and across civilisations. Through artefacts, artworks and interactive moments, the exhibition will enable visitors to reconnect with the wonders of the Moon and discover how it has captivated and inspired us.

The Moon is on at the National Maritime Museum from 19 July 2019 – 5 January 2020. For more information visit Royal Museums Greenwich

This project is supported by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst


On Distant Objects and Hungry Gods at the National Museum of World Cultures NL

On Distant Objects and Hungry Gods will be part of the National Museum of World Cultures NL new exhibition “Healing Power”.

Jorge Mañes Rubio’s work with Korean shamans is featured in this unique exhibition together with artists such as Joseph Beuys, Damian Hirst and Marina Abramovic. Merging art with extraordinary ethnographic collections in this field, “Healing Powers” offers a unique opportunity to take visitors on a spiritual journey. 

The concept of healing is relatively new in Europe. It has been on the rise since the 1980s, concurrent with the increasing popularity of Eastern medicine and the New Age movement. The treatments are often centuries old and come from all over the world: from the Arctic to South America, and from Canada to China. And although methods and tools differ from one continent and one era to the next, the goal is always the same: learning to balance body, mind, and soul, while healing and gaining more self-knowledge in the process. The underlying principle is also the same: the belief that there is more between heaven and earth, more than we can explain with our ratio and (Western) science. 

Opening Healing Power
Thursday, July 11 from 5 p.m

Museum Volkenkunde
Steenstraat 1
2312 BS Leiden

This project is supported by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst



Peak of Eternal Light on NHK’s Cosmic Art Documentary

Peak of Eternal Light was featured on Japanese National TV NHK’s Cosmic Art Documentary. In it, artist Jorge Mañes Rubio discusses his role as an artist at the European Space Agency, the meaning behind some of his most recent work and his hopes for the future of space exploration. 

This project is supported by the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst

Design Museum Dharavi at the XXII Triennale di Milano

Design Museum Dharavi will take part in the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival. The exhibition highlights the concept of restorative design and studies the state of the threads that connect humans to their natural environments––some frayed, others altogether severed.

The exhibition is curated by MoMA senior curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli and promises to be the most significant design exhibit of the year. By turning its attention to human existence and persistence, the XXII Triennale will promote the importance of creative practices in surveying our species’ bonds with the complex systems in the world, and designing reparations when necessary, through objects, concepts, and new systems.

Design Museum Dharavi engages with local makers in new collaborations, exploring their creativity and designing new items together for public exhibitions. The showcased objects, proposals, strategies and models reflect the talent of local makers, craftsmen, designers, contractors and other professionals operating within Dharavi, and aim to open new creative directions and scenarios. The goal of such collaborative process is portraying local identities and their communities in surprising and original ways, encouraging a new perception and understanding about this home-grown neighbourhood. 

Broken Nature will run from March 1 to September 1, 2019.

The Message at V&A London

The Message (still), from the Peak of Eternal Light series, 2018. Dimensions variable, 26min. Digital film.

The Message, Jorge Mañes Rubio’s latest video installation, will be screened at the Victoria & Albert Museum as part of their Friday Late program. In The Message the artists presents original footage from NASA’s Apollo Moon missions in a new light. The work addresses the role of mankind in the colonization of celestial bodies while at the same time advocates for a deeper and more spiritual connection with the cosmos. 

Friday Late celebrates all aspects of contemporary visual culture and design in society, bringing audiences face-to-face with leading and emerging artists and designers through live performance, film, installation, debate, DJs and late-night exhibition openings. Today’s fantasies of the future help to shape tomorrow’s lived realities. This Friday Late, we turn to speculative and imagined worlds to reveal possibilities for the future – from artists looking forwards to heal the scars of the past, to designers using science fiction to interrupt reality. Can imagining alternative tomorrows influence today’s choices?

Peak of Eternal Light at Barakat Seoul

Jorge Mañes Rubio: Peak of Eternal Light

Wednesday, May 2–Sunday, June 10, 2018

Opening May 2, 6-8pm

Barakat Seoul is holding Peak of Eternal Light, an exhibition of the work of Spanish artist Jorge Mañes Rubio (b. 1984), from Wednesday, May 2 to Sunday, June 3. As an artist, Jorge Mañes Rubio has investigated themes of vanishing civilization and shamanism from an ethnographic standpoint, focusing on forgotten places and stories that are given new meaning in his work. His experiments transcend the bounds of art to offer alternative perspectives on issues of politics, society, and the environment. 

The works in Peak of Eternal Light, which is taking place as part of Barakat Seoul’s support program for young artists, focus on traces of forgotten ancient civilizations within modern society, repositioning and reconfiguring them on the alternative future stage represented by the Moon. In 2016, Mañes Rubio began an art residency program with the European Space Agency (ESA), envisioning a future civilization for human settlement of the moon. As seen in Peak of Eternal Light, the spaces he proposes combine technology with mythology, lunar exploration with ancient civilization. Starting from an imagined narrative involving the creation of a new civilization to colonize the Moon, the exhibition unfolds around the satellite’s south pole at Shackleton Crater, which is noted as receiving some of the moon’s greatest exposure to sunshine. With his attempt to build a new human civilization for lunar settlement, the artist realizes the utopian human dream of venturing beyond Earth into space’s endless expanse.

In pondering the question of what kind of culture the future lunar settlers will have, the author harks back ironically to the civilizations of the past – once splendid, but now subsumed into the faded pages of history. The artist’s perspective in finding the basis for cultivating a lunar civilization in ancient societies is both a process of anthropological exploration into the origins of human existence and an opportunity to underscore how unfathomably small humans are within the infinitude of space.

Barakat Seoul
58-4, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu
T. +82 2 730 1949 F. +82 2 733 1949
Email: contact@barakatgallery.com


TED Senior Fellowship

Artist Jorge Mañes Rubio has been selected as a TED2018 Senior Fellow, joining a class of change-makers from around the world selected for their extraordinary work and contributions to the TED community. As a Senior Fellow, he will have the opportunity to participate in four additional TED events and potentially the opportunity to deliver a talk from the TED stage.

“We are proud that our 2018 Fellows comprise a truly global, cross-disciplinary group of individuals, each of whom has already had extraordinary impact in their fields. They are boldly using technology, the arts, science, advocacy and beyond to address some the most pressing topics of our day –including campus sexual assault, refugee health, a free and independent press, and climate change,” said TED Fellows Deputy Director Shoham Arad. “We believe deeply in the power of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaboration to surface original solutions to seemingly intractable problems, and we look forward to seeing what this remarkable group is able to build as a result of joining the Fellows program.”

Check the link to find out more about the 2018 class of TED Fellows and Senior Fellows.

On Distant Objects And Hungry Gods

On October 3 I’ll be moving to S.Korea to work on my new project “On Distant Objects And Hungry Gods”. My new work will revolve around Korean shamanism (musok) and the female South Korean shamans (mansin, meaning ten thousand spirits, the potential number a good shaman is able to contact) who perform these rituals. Musok is considered an ancient and indigenous practice, dating back a few thousand years. Before Buddha, Confucius, Lao-tzu and Jesus, these women plied their trade in Korea, mediating between humans, objects, and supernatural entities. I see a decisive parallelism between Korean shamanism rituals and new mystical and ethnographical directions in contemporary art, and I believe there’s a synergy between the energy of the mansin and the energy of the universe. 

This project is kindly supported by the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea and the Mondriaan Funds

New TEDx talk now online!

Jorge Mañes was a speaker at TEDxUniviersidadEuropeaMadrid. Do not miss his talk where he speaks about how the Moon has inspired him to create new artworks and to look at the future of our civilisation with a more peaceful and embracing way.  

The Museum and the Disposessed

Jorge Mañes Rubio and Amanda Pinatih, co-founders of Design Museum Dharavi, were among the speakers at Art for Tomorrow in Doha, a conference organised by the New York Times. New boundaries, where and why art follows the rules or challenges them, and art’s role in creating and influencing personal, corporate, urban and national identities were explored. In this session, “The Museum and the Disposessed”, Jorge and Amanda explain their work at the front of their museum and its impact on the challenging environment of Dharavi. 

Design Museum Dharavi is the first museum of its kind, based in the homegrown neighbourhood of Dharavi, showcasing local talent through a nomadic exhibition space and employing design as a tool to promote social change and innovation on a global scale. The project was awarded the Leading Culture Destinations Awards 2016 in the category of Best New Museum of the Year – Asia Pacific’ and was nominated for the Beazley Designs of the Year by the Design Museum London last year.

”A museum can be defined not only by architectural glamour or by a famous collection,” Mr. Rubio said. “We envision a museum where walls are dissolvable, a museum that will play a way more relevant social role in our cities. That’s the museum of the future.”

You can watch the full session here or read a recap of the conference on the NYT piece Culture as a Bridge Across Global Troubles.

Peak of Eternal Light

Instead of seeing it as just a potential site for groundbreaking scientific discovery, sci-fi tourism or the lucrative exploitation of extraterrestrial natural resources, Rubio chose to look at the Moon as a universal and mythical idea. The Moon, unlike Earth, has no boundaries, no divisions, no nations. Do we have a right to change that? And so he decided the best way to symbolise this dilemma was to build a temple on the Moon. A temple to celebrate the Moon as a powerful symbol of unity for mankind.

Street Food Lighting at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul.

Jorge Mañes Rubio is in Seoul to participate in ‘Activating the City: Urban Gastronomy’, a new exhibition at the MMCA, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Rubio will be presenting his work ‘Street Food Lighting’ and kicking off the exhibition with an open discussion together with curator Bora Hong and chef Ara Ahn. ‘Activating the City: Urban Gastronomy’ includes the work of several artists, designers and activists such as Gordon Matta-Clark, Bonnie Ora Sherk and Jongbuhm Kim. The exhibition imagines design methodology as a device to form relationships among people in consideration of how we shall live, rather than producing new objects or work. 

‘Activating the City: Urban Gastronomy’ opens today and will be running till 19 March 2017. Opening discussion will take place on Wednesday 7 December at 18:30. For more info visit MMCA.   

Design Museum Dharavi book is now available!

We’ve created a very special book that celebrates and documents our exhibitions, events and work so far! The publication includes a manual with the ‘lessons learnt’, a catalogue showing our first collection of chai cups and a series of essays from contributors such as urbz, Nadine Botha, Steven van den Haak and Dewi Pinatih. The book is entirely handmade, designed and printed by The Future Publishing & Printing, comes in a limited edition of a hundred copies and we still have a few copies left! 

If you’re interested in the book you can contact info@designmuseumdharavi.org or visit our website for more information. 

Design Museum Dharavi at the Beazley Designs of the Year Exhibition in London

The Beazley Designs of the Year is the Design Museum’s flagship exhibition and awards which celebrates design that promotes or delivers change, enables access, extends design practice or captures the spirit of the year. We are proud to announce that Design Museum Dharavi has been nominated in the category of Product and that we are part of the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition in London.

All shortlisted nominees have their work displayed or represented at the Design Museum during the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition and are in contention for the prestigious Beazley Designs of the Year awards. Beazley Designs of the Year is the opening exhibition for the Design Museum at its new home in Kensington, west London. We hope to see you there!

24 NOVEMBER 2016 – 19 FEBRUARY 2017

The Design Museum, open 10:00 – 18:00 daily

224 – 238 Kensington High Street
W8 6AG


Souvenirs that reimagine the world about us

Jorge Mañes Rubio was a speaker at TEDxMadrid. Whether in a parking lot in a supermarket in London or in abandoned cities in China, Rubio’s work makes us travel and see things that are not what they seem to be. By researching exhaustively and reinterpreting , the artist suggests new values for familiar places. Through memories, pictures and interventions, Rubio re-creates his own story-telling. He mixes fictional elements with reality on purpose, and this unconventional approach becomes the vehicle for sending a social message about art and change.

This talk is in Spanish. For english subtitles click in the video settings.