Mandra – by Ophelia Jacarini

Mandra is an art installation that challenges perceptions of the body, energy, time and space. It is inspired by the movement of water and is meant to relax the visitor. A two-meter diameter embroidered circle, which hangs from the ceiling, the piece is constantly moving, turning around.

“Many of us know that being around water makes us calmer and more creative. Science knows it, too: A recent study even showed that people who live near the ocean report feeling less stress and better health than those who don’t. Maybe because the amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75%. So, can we connect to where we belong? Could this explain why we feel relaxed in front of the ocean?”- Ophelia Jacarini

“Sometimes past works can inspire new ideas and pieces…” says the artist. The concept for this particular artwork was inspired by her last exhibition where Ophelia Jacarini was showing art pieces that were both aesthetic and “diagnostic”. The artist’s interest was to partially record psychic maladies and how differently disordered brains might work. She took inspiration from addiction, hallucinations, social issues, anorexia, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. “A visitor who came to my show was intrigued and asked me why wasn’t I making art that could go into hospitals. Just like that, her question gave me my next subject!”, tells Jacarini.



The French artist read a lot about soft medication and meditation as treatments and learned that in some meditation practices, the sound of water relaxes the mind. Some hospitals even have water incorporated into their architecture then the patients can see and hear water. Therefore, she imagined a moving sculpture based on this idea of relaxing the mind with water. “I don’t have the pretension to say I’m going to save people from cancer or any kind of sickness with this artwork but at least if they can feel relaxed and calm by looking at my installation, then I will feel that I have accomplished my goal.” – O. Jacarini

She created art installations that challenge perceptions of the body, energy, time and space. The artist is interested in cultivating spaces in which the mind and body can listen and the heart can open. In this state, individuals find the possibility of fresh insights and new connections between themselves and the world around them.

She aims at showing that her art has been inspired by fascinating subjects. “I think we are all ‘sick’ in some ways, and sometimes it is more or less visible. I probably chose to create in order to save myself from my ‘dark’ sides. Who knows?” She explains that she believes that there is no difference between her eccentric side and her professional artist side when it comes to dealing with matter and materials.

Jacarini believes that senses play a fundamental role in being human, which needs to be cultivated at the forefront of our complex lives. With advancing technology, the society is becoming increasingly connected through virtual reality and at the same time. It creates a disconnection between the presence and physical contact. Screens gather individual’s gaze and make bodies close inwards, desensitizing and moving people away from the present and physical dimension.

Ophelia Jacarini is a Hong Kong-based French artist. She studied both fashion and fine art, hence textiles are a relevant aspect of her installations. The delicate techniques used in her artworks embody Ophelia’s thoughts and concepts. In addition, her sensitive approach acts upon traditional convention often governing the representation and vision of the body. After a long study on the body as an envelope, the French artist turned her focus to the intangible, such as mental madness, or the fetal memories, feelings.