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Forging new ideas through ‘Hot Stamp’

Trans. by M.OYUNGEREL

T.Otgonbaatar and D.Ariunbold, teachers at Rajiv Gandhi Polytechnic College of Production and Arts, just opened their exhibition “Hot Stamp” at Best Art Gallery. This is the second ever iron art exhibition in Mongolia.

In an interview with D.Ariunbold we learn more about the exhibition and its creators. 

Why did you choose the path of an artist, particularly working with iron? 

I graduated from the School of Fine Arts (SFA) in urban design under the guidance of Bat-Enkh in 1991. During socialist times, the major was just about making bulletin boards, slogans, and posters – basically like design majors now. After adopting democracy, I could no longer find jobs with this specialization so I started doing business, and even tried opening a business.

When Bat-Enkh moved in to be my neighbor, he offered me a chance to teach at SFA. My teacher helped me out in two major, invaluable ways: he amplified my mindset and made me love art, and when I took a different path, he led me back to art.

Hot iron art exhibitions are very rare. Smiths make traditional knives, stirrups and stamps just for use, and not for exhibitions. Iron is just a medium to express what’s inside of an artist. I cooperated with T.Otgonbaatar and we released our first joint exhibition to try to show the flexibility and delicacy of the human mind and spirit with this cold metal. This is a start. 

Why did you name your exhibition “Hot Stamp”?

I can’t forget to mention my colleague, T.Otgonbaatar, before anything. He graduated from Mongolian State University of Arts and Culture to be a blacksmith under the guidance of Enkhdavaa. We met in 8th grade and have been teaching together for seven years. We came up with about 20 ideas after sharing, enriching, and picking from many individual ideas to present our joint exhibition. Due to the hardness of the material, we weren’t able to create as we imagined and changed the designs a lot during the process. Therefore, very few of these artworks are created according to their initial drafts.

Four stamps and fourteen three-dimensional sculptures are presented at the exhibition. We tried to break the “traditional” horse brand shape. For instance, we made imprints/stamps in the shape of “like” icon from Facebook, a Mongolian map, and the copyright sign. It means that it’s forbidden to copy or duplicate our horse. Because we thought it was parochial to only have horse stamps, we made contemporary sculptures with completely different expression.

 We say “a person is cold as iron” or as “strong as iron”. What are your thoughts on the characteristics of iron?

We could compare it to a man. Women can never be compared to iron. I’ll answer this based on my work “Crossbeam Summit”. We call one a “tower of strength” when they’re credible and trustworthy, not powerful and rich. We created that art with 50-year-old iron. Although iron is strong, it erodes with time. But it’s nice if a person is credible like iron for a long time.

 How do you choose the iron you work with, is there a certain criteria?

Old Russian iron is very strong. Chinese iron comes apart easily. Sometimes we encounter such nice iron at the raw material market that we can’t afford. But if it meets my needs, then we buy it regardless of the price. 

How easy is it to express flexibility with iron?

We can express anything with iron. When I compress and cut the hot iron into folds, I can’t help but think and I’m moved. 

Does the unique smell of iron stimulate you to work?

I don’t think it inspires me. But when I smell it, it reminds me of the sounds of iron-working, the hot flames of fire, and the hard procedure. If we’re in the midst of our artwork, the odor barely escapes our bodies. It might seem unpleasant to some. 

They say an artist finds himself after going through a lot. Have you found yourself?

Finding yourself has a very deep meaning. I read G.Sereeter’s interview at 30 in “Fine Arts” magazine, saying that he’s still “searching for himself”. I think it depends on whether you have created something satisfactory or not. So I haven’t really found myself yet. 

What are you planning to do in the future?

We’re talking about hot iron works. But I realized that talking about procedures in art is rude when I was releasing this exhibition. Iron is just a medium we chose, but the main purpose was to create something out of the mind. We carried several forms out. In the future, we are deciding on one form per exhibition. 

What’s the importance of opening an exhibition?

There are many advantages. You get to know where you are through perspective. There’s nothing as easy as teaching and guiding someone. When you keep giving advice, you get stagnant yourself. Creating what you think, showing others, and hearing criticisms and praises make the mind clearer, and it gives a bright and pure feeling. Of course, when an exhibit is sold, it is a financial and emotional stimulator. But that bright feeling is a treasure beyond compare. Also, now I’m more careful with the words I tell students. Before, I used to say, “it’s like that,” but now I say “maybe” or “could be’”, and stopped acting like a know-it-all. When you start to find yourself, you feel more shamed. Not that I didn’t feel shamed before, but I may have had more pride then. 

Do you use other mediums?

I have made several works in the form of installation, using garbage, which means it could only be exhibited for a while, that it couldn’t be presented again. I once participated in an Asian exhibition using photographs also. 

Mixing iron and painting seemed interesting.

They say God and the devil coexist inside a person. We tried to express people’s inner conflicts with our work “Boundary”. We put metal on the boundary, thinking that it would have been easy if we could draw a boundary between creative and useless thoughts. 

Source: Unuudur

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=14761

Posted by on May 28 2015. Filed under Arts & Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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