“Nomadic Spirit” exhibits the art of modern Mongolia
This week, the “Nomadic Spirit in Ulaanbaatar” exhibition opened at the National Modern Art Gallery of Mongolia. A joint Mongolian and French exhibition, the theme is the nomadic spirit of Mongolians, and this exhibition attempts to portray, through a range of artistic works, the evolution of the Mongolian people and the disparities between the immense steppes and the unbridled urban development of Ulaanbaatar.
The works of about 20 Mongolian and French artists are displayed, each presenting their vision of a modern Mongolia trying to protect its traditions. While Tim Desgraupes’s works concentrate on a “taxi driver” who led him into the hidden recesses of Ulaanbaatar, another artist, Come Doerflinger, took inspiration from the Mongolian steppes. Other artists presented a more symbolic vision of Mongolian tradition. Paintings by Mongolian artists such as “The Spirit Maitre Rivers” by Gambatar are side by side with Rose Baque’s ceramic sculptures and projections of Dorian Francois’s pictures. This heterogeneous exhibit is connected by a large circle of sand, the symbol of life and movement, created by the artist Batzorig.
Mathieu Gabarra, the French artist who organized the project and the designer of the sculpture of a wolf being embraced by a child, which decorates the exhibition’s flyers, explained his arrival into Ulaanbaatar without any money and why he decided to put on this exhibit. “This exhibition is a meeting between French and Mongolian artists. Mongols of nomadic tradition and nomadic expatriates have a lot in common.”
It was a meeting with artists from the group “Blue Sun” which inspired Gabarra to organize the exhibition. The nomadic spirit is so important for the Mongols, but is also present in every traveler coming through the country. “Blue Sun” was formed in 2002 by a few artists and over time has become the most active group of contemporary artists in Mongolia. Among others feats, in recent years they have organized several festivals in the middle of nowhere. These festivals attract both “land art” artists and contemporary artists. They build installations with materials found at the location. This collective has now begun to settle in a more long-lasting way by creating a real artist’s village. This project is in fact an attempt to bring Mongolian contemporary art to the attention of the rest of the world. The objective is to both welcome international artists and to give Mongolian contemporary art a distinct identity.
The “Nomadic Spirit in Ulaanbaatar” exhibition opened on Monday, January 28. The opening ceremony began with speeches by the organizing team and a succession of performances in connection with the works of each artist. The exhibition will close its doors on Sunday February 3. Art enthusiasts therefore have just a few days remaining to see this remarkable exhibit and perhaps meet the artists, who are at the exhibition every day.
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