Manuel Vilhena, born Lisbon 1967.
He started making Jewellery in his teens learning from master craftsmen in Brazil and Italy. He later completed his training as a goldsmith in 1989. Curious about the Contemporary Jewellery phenomenon, he made his way to Cologne, to study with Prof. Skubic and later enrolled at the Royal College of Art, London under Prof. Watkins, where he completed his Masters’ degree in 1998.
In 1999 he founded Postcon with Boekhoudt, Fink and Hansen. The group disbanded soon after but Postcon remains active in promoting ‘Post-Contemporary Jewellery’ and other far-fetched ideas. Some are contained in Manuel’s book Do you speak Jewellery?© (1998), a seminal text for Contemporary Jewellery theory.
He has taught extensively at jewellery related institutions around the world, including the Royal College of Art, Hiko Mizuno Jewellery College, Tokyo; Silpakorn University, Bangkok; ARCO school, Lisbon, the Shenkar College in Tel-Aviv and the Alchimia School, Florence,where he was senior lecturer for six years ending in 2006. He was workshop leader at the Salzburg Summer Academy in 2009 and 2010 and held a Professorship at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts for four years ending in 2010. He is an entertaining lecturer and most of what he says is true.
His work has been shown in several countries and photos of his pieces can be seen in several books on Contemporary Jewellery. The work is also present in some public and private collections, including that of the Danner Rotunde, Munich and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
In 2007 he joined NASA (National Art Science Academy), where he collaborates with other ‘academicals’ and ‘scientists’ to promote a unified theory for the Arts, of which the formula ‘E=mc3’ is but an example.
He lives between the mountains of central Europe and sunny Portugal with occasional stops for bird-watching here and there.