In His World-Building Series ‘New Prophets,’ Jorge Mañes Rubio Cloaks Basketballs in Beads — Colossal

Home / In His World-Building Series ‘New Prophets,’ Jorge Mañes Rubio Cloaks Basketballs in Beads — Colossal
In His World-Building Series ‘New Prophets,’ Jorge Mañes Rubio Cloaks Basketballs in Beads — Colossal




Art

#art history
#basketball
#beads
#Jorge Mañes Rubio
#sculpture
#sports

April 25, 2024

Kate Mothes

a glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting a medieval-style mythical dragon with nine heads

“EVERYTHING SPIRITS” (2023), basketball, plaster, gesso, glass beads, 25 centimeters diameter. All images © Jorge Mañes Rubio, courtesy of the artist and Rademakers Gallery, shared with permission

Beginning with an iconic yet common spherical form, Jorge Mañes Rubio reimagines basketballs as powerful entities in his series New Prophets. Ornamented with stylized creatures, botanicals, and figures, each sculpture tells its own enigmatic story, drawing on the inextricable link between past and present. “These works, although familiar in visual language, seem to come from a dream-like dimension,” the artist tells Colossal, “as if offering a chance at re-enchanting the world we live in.”

New Prophets began with a fascination with an 8th-century Spanish illuminated manuscript called the Commentary on the Apocalypse that’s decorated in a Mozarabic style, which originated in Spain and represents a blend of Romanesque, Islamic, and Byzantine traditions. Rubio, who is currently based in Amsterdam, is fascinated by cultural exchange throughout history. He says:

My artistic practice operates on a similar way: I’m claiming a space where I can continue to learn from a crucible of the most diverse influences, while at the same time carving my own distinctive path. I want to continue to explore cross-cultural themes and symbols that reflect and honour the extensive circulation of ideas, works, and people that came before us.

World-building is central to Rubio’s practice, and initially, he considered another spherical shape for this series as a literal representation of the world: a globe. “The colonial and imperial connotations of this artifact really discouraged me,” he says, but when by chance he placed a string of beads on a basketball that was kicking around his studio, the idea for New Prophets clicked.

 

a glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting a lizard and numerous kinds of flowers on a blue background

“SACRED AGAIN” (2023), basketball, plaster, gesso, glass beads, 25 centimeters diameter

Rubio coats the balls with plaster and gesso—ensuring it doesn’t deflate—criss-crosses the form along its distinctive lines, and adds vibrant flowers, stylized text, medieval motifs, and mythical creatures. The orbs play with the idea of an object designed to be bounced and thrown around, instead coating it with delicate patterns and displaying it like a sacred relic.

In his alternative worlds, Rubio is interested in visualizing how past, present, and future can unfold simultaneously. “My hope is that my works invite people to rethink our relationship with the universe and all the beings that live in it —human, nonhuman, material, or spiritual— suggesting alternatives to established systems of representation, power and exploitation,” he says. “I believe this more animistic perspective has the potential to provide a more generous, humbling attitude to make sense of the world we live in.”

Rubio is currently working toward a couple of show in 2025 and continuing New Prophets. Find more on the artist’s website, and stay up to date on Instagram.

 

a four-up image of different views of a teal glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting the words "sacred" and "again" and various flowers and lizards

Views of “SACRED AGAIN” (2023)

a glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting a jellyfish on a dark blue background

“LIQUID DREAMS” (2024), basketball, plaster, gesso, glass beads, 25 centimeters diameter

a glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting a medieval-style snake on a light green background

“PURPOSE POTENTIAL” (2023), basketball, plaster, gesso, glass beads, 25 centimeters diameter

a four-up image of different views of a teal glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting the words "potential" and "purpose" and a fire-breathing snake

Views of “PURPOSE POTENTIAL” (2023)

a detail of a purple beaded snake

Detail of “PURPOSE POTENTIAL” (2023)

a glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting a woman on horseback, wearing a crown, on a white background

“MAGICAL THINKING” (2024), basketball, plaster, gesso, glass beads, 25 centimeters diameter

a four-up image of different views of a white glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting the words "everything" and "spirits" and a Celtic knot

Views of “MAGICAL THINKING” (2024)

a glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting a lizard an flowers on a black backround

“EVER LASTING” (2024), basketball, plaster, gesso, glass beads, 25 centimeters diameter

a glass bead-coated spherical sculpture made from a basketball depicting magenta flowers and green leaves on a black background

“EVER LASTING” (2024)

#art history
#basketball
#beads
#Jorge Mañes Rubio
#sculpture
#sports

 

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