THE MULTIPLE ARTE OF MANA BERNARDES
Mana Bernardes is a jewelry designer, poet and visual artist. Multiple, her work circulates from the Chelsea Art Museum in New York to the popular streets of Rio de Janeiro – the “Magnomento”, a weightless magnetic latch invented by Mana, is sold in the popular Saara district in Rio. Born into a family of artists, Mana has shown her creative potential in exhibitions throughout the world, in her collection of daily use jewelry, in several projects in partnership with stylists and renowned brands and in the creative workshops she offers throughout Brazil. Mana’s work searches for a fair and sustainable path through education, art and design.
For Mana, poetry is the starting point of any process. From verses, the artist searches the meaning of things in order to define the concepts of her creations. Her expression includes manuscripts that outflow the vast immensity of thoughts entertained by her. For Mana, typography must convey the meaning of the word in each letter. Her writing is spatial, loose and tied by new connections.
Her jewels are marked by a concept – “the power of transformation is the human being’s jewel” – expressed in her way of production. Her pieces are jewelry by the way she is able to see nobility in all materials: pieces of PET bottles, toothpicks, hair clips and glass balls, among others. All products are handmade by artisans trained by Mana with the goal of increasing education, culture and citizenship, besides generating income.
Her course “D+ da Conta” has already formed 300 teenagers in the NGO Ser Cidadão. From this experience and her formation in Art Therapy, Mana developed the methodology “History of Life Through the Object, History of the Object Through Life”, in which each participant is encouraged to work his/her creative potential through his/her life experience. Workshops based on this methodology have been offered all over Brazil, from the European Institute of Design (SP) to the Nucleus of Art of the NGO Ser Cidadão (RJ); from the University of Strategic Drawing of Brazil, in Unisinos (RS), to artisans specialized in seeds in Rio Branco (AC), not to forget the NGO Ata Cidadania for the social inclusion of mental health patients (BH).
Mana’s creative potential has also generated partnerships with artists and brands from several areas. In 2004 she created the jewelry collection “Bic Game” for the brand À Colecionadora of the stylist Luisa Marcier. In 2005, invited by the Campana brothers, she exhibited at the Cartier Foundation, in France. There she showed the 8 meter mobile “A thread for space” and the video art “Connecting through the cord”, a project that participated in the commemorative exhibition of the British magazine “I-D”, visiting six cities, among them London, Paris and Tokyo. 2006 was the year of her first solo exhibition, “The work is yours”, at Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro.
“Melissa’s roots” was the installation made with 300 sandals of this brand, which worked with the theme Sustainability during the 2007 São Paulo Fashion Week. In the same year, Mana conveyed the work “On paper it wouldn’t fit, That which in the body couldn’t fit, In poetry it fit”, a 3x3m sculpture made with light and sheets of vegetal paper, as part of the exhibition “Transitory Dwellings”, shown at the National Museum of Brasilia. In 2008 Mana returns to the São Paulo Fashion Week with her manuscript poems printed on the collection of the brand UMA, by Raquel Davidowicz.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROJECT
While I proposed initially to work from the way light interacts with the spaces designed by Lehrer Architects, once working in the space itself, the project immediately expanded and opened up. I was very excited by the large photographs of the firm’s other architectural projects hanging around the space. I was interested in the idea of working from the two dimensional image representing three dimensional space, positioned against an actual three dimensional space. I was attracted to these images as windows into multiple points of perspective. The project began with a representational drawing of the space, including the images in the photographs, as well as the space around them. Given the many diagonals and variety of points of view, the image instigated a stream of abstract works on paper.
I began by tracing and transferring the image, cutting the tracing in half and flipping it to invert half of the image. Later I cut various planes in space out of the image, and used them as the positive shapes for another work. The work became self-generating, as each shape that I cut out created both a positive and negative shape that could be used. I continued to trace, cut, draw, and paint with gouache from the original work, creating multiple painted paper collages. The residency, and being surrounded by such open minded creativity, opened up my studio practice in new and exciting ways, triggering the beginnings of a new body of work which has only just begun to unfold. I have such gratitude for the opportunity, and excitement for what is to come in the work from the experience.