New public art commission SOL now completed

SOL, a public art commission created by Jorge Mañes Rubio for Gwangmyeong’s “Today’s Weather”, is now completed. SOL is located on the public garden above U PLANET’s five stories high building. This public art project was planned by Team Factory Seoul, with Design Firm as collaborative partners. ⁣

Today’s Weather is a public art project as part of the architectural art project in the U PLANET complex near Gwangmyeong Station. The close collaboration with Taeyoung Construction, the planning team, Team Factory, participating artists, and other stakeholders over the past three years has been a new attempt in process and method that is different from the conventional approach to architectural artworks.

Size: Glass stela 100cm(W) x 20cm(D) x 300cm(H) / Grass hill 16m(W) x 15m(D) x 0,7m(H).⁣
Material: triple laminated glass panel, soil, grass.⁣

Historically, tracking the movement of the sun and its exact location at sunrise and sunset was amongst the first bodies of astronomical knowledge, a universal metaphor for a perpetual promise of a new beginning. Today, we rarely look up the sky, and any myths or mysteries seem to have been removed from the heavens. This project aims to partly restore that connection through a new public art installation where people can slow down, get together, contemplate, and reconnect with the sky and each other. ⁣

On May 19th, 2005, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured a stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. Mars is known as the Red Planet, but this spectacular Martian sunset was surprisingly blue. ⁣

On an urban location where the horizon is blocked by high-rise buildings, with SOL we want not just to reflect the sky and recreate the coloured lights from a martian sunset, but more importantly, bring back the idea of awe and ritual around weather phenomenons. Rather than a static work of art, SOL can be better described as an experience that acknowledges the power and importance of the cultural production of space.⁣

El Tajín at Fotofestival Naarden

I’m honoured to bring the Totonac nation and its ancestral wisdom to the Fotofestival Naarden, invited by curator Guinevere Ras. El Tajín is a series of 4 artworks I created after visiting the Centro de Artes Indígenas CAI, a unique arts centre in Mexico that has been awarded by UNESCO as one of the best practices for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. Here, all year long, several school-houses preserve and teach indigenous ways-of-knowing to the future generations, from traditional healing to pottery, weaving, dancing or the ‘flowery word’, Totonac’s native tongue. 

I feel indebted to Humberto García, CAI’s director, for blessing this exhibition and allowing us to share these works in Naarden.

Fotofestival Naarden opens on 3 July and you can find El Tajín by the water on the walls of the Vestingmuseum and at the tuincentrum Van der Roest.

Healing Power at Tropenmusuem Amsterdam

On June 5 the new exhibition Healing Powers was unveiled at the Tropenmuseum Amsterdam, a very special date as museums reopened all across the Netherlands. I’m honoured to participate in this exhibition with several works, including 4 photographs from On Distant Objects and Hungry Gods. These portraits provide an intimate view of Korean shamans and the vital role these women still play in today’s Korea.

The exhibition also features my work ‘Untitled #11 (Mediator)’, a large lunar shamanic cloth made with aerospace materials and a technique I learnt from Korean shaman Jo Seong-Yeon while living in Seoul. With these works at the Tropenmuseum I reflect on the role that shamanism could play in challenging the processes of exploitation and alienation that currently characterise humanity’s relationship with the universe.

Healing Powers presents healing and animistic traditions across the world. It includes spiritually charged objects in combination with several works from artists including Marina Abramovic, Joseph Beuys, Remy Jungerman, Simon Tookoome and Edouard Duval Carrié. The underlying principle for both perspectives is the same: the belief that there is more than we can explain with our (Western) science, that we live in a world inhabited by a diversity of beings —whether human, non human, material or spiritual.

Healing Powers is on display until June 6, 2022.
Linnaeusstraat 2
1092 CK Amsterdam

TED talk now online

My 2020 TED talk is now online! Thrilled to be part of SHAPE YOUR FUTURE, a groundbreaking selection of new talks and an amazing moment for the TED Fellows program taking over TED.

Filmed in my studio in Amsterdam during lockdown, in this talk I celebrate the ancient knowledge I’ve been introduced to in the past few years, reimagining space exploration as a unique chance to bring together science, art and ritual. 

Filmed, directed and edited: Jeremy Flohr/Beyond Walls
Production: Suzanne Rastovac/Beyond Walls

Artists in Support of Human Rights Watch – Benefit Auction now open on ARTSY

For the past year, unprecedented challenges have exposed the deep fault lines of our society. Artists are so often at the forefront of movements for change seeking to repair these fault lines: truth-tellers grappling with society’s most prescient challenges, injustices, hopes, and joys. Artists in Support of Human Rights Watch 20 21 is an online benefit auction featuring 41 works from established and emerging artists commenting on the current state of the world. A truly global, diverse group of artists deploy a variety of mediums, including photography, textile, sculpture, and more. 

Jorge Mañes Rubio is part of Artists in Support of Human Rights Watch 20 21 with his work ‘I Need You to Know That Even Though You’re Not Here, You’re Here (Juanita)’. This sculpture was made over several months of lockdown in his atelier in Amsterdam, depicting a world inhabited by a diversity of beings —whether human, non human, material and spiritual. “I’m currently changing my approach to art, reframing it as active matter; something that can be handled, experienced, and ultimately activated. I’m focused on new ways of understanding agency, intimacy and awareness in relation to my practice and the artworks I produce.”

This benefit auction is part of Art + Activism and organized by WILLAS contemporary with all proceeds being donated to Human Rights Watch. Artists will receive their typical percentage, which they can choose to donate to Human Rights Watch.

Art + Activism supports Human Rights Watch by engaging with artists, curators, cultural icons, and galleries. It deploys creative mediums for the human rights movement, toward a more equitable future where everyone’s voice is elevated.

Human Rights Watch investigates and reports on abuses happening in all corners of the world. 450 people of 70-plus nationalities who are country experts, lawyers, journalists, and others who work to protect the most at risk, from vulnerable minorities and civilians in wartime, to refugees and children in need. To ensure their independence, they refuse government funding and carefully review all donations to ensure that they are consistent with their policies, mission, and values. They partner with organizations large and small across the globe to protect embattled activists and to help hold abusers to account and bring justice to victims. 

Browse lots and place bids on ARTSY before the auction closes on Thursday, March 18th at 1:00pm EDT (6:00pm CET).

ONWARD & UPWARD Exhibition @droog Amsterdam

“Mother with Child and the Imminent Possibility of an Endless Journey” is part of ONWARD & UPWARD Art in the Garden of Life, a new art exhibition @droog Amsterdam curated by Renny Ramakers and Liselore Frowijn.

The direct reason for the exhibition ONWARD&UPWARD is the uncertain present in which the COVID-19 pandemic brought us. ONWARD&UPWARD reflects on the uncertainties and pitfalls of life itself and on man’s strength to continue; we must carry on moving ‘onward’ and ‘upward’ using all the means at our disposal.

From 2 October
Staalstraat 7A, Amsterdam   
Open WED-SUN 11-18h

COVID-19 measures taken into account at all times.
Time slot tickets are required. No groups of more than 4 people.

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


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.