Artist Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 2020;
Dream of a Gazelle By Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav
This installation trilogy named Dream of a Gazelle consists of a video, a soft sculpture and a collage work on paper, which compliment each other and are connected by a fictional story of a gazelle’s dream. But the dream is reflected on a real life tragedy that is taking place in Mongolian grasslands, where human built fences overtaking gazelle’s pasture land and causing them too many unexpected deaths in the metal wires of the fences. Not much about it is known to the public, and it left me no choice to touch upon this subject and give a voice to the issue.
Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav Dream of a Gazelle, video, 1’23”, 1920×1080, 2020-2021;
孟和琪琪格·扎拉哈扎布《瞪羚的梦》，视频， 1’23”, 1920×1080，2020-2021
In my previous works I have portrayed gazelles to convey ideas and concepts of reincarnation, after life, relations of caring, catharsis, healing, and the human_nature connections. Gazelle is one of the key animals of the Mongolian grasslands and has a long relation with the nomadic life and mentality, for instance they hold a special position in oral metaphors or proverbs. In fact, gazelles are like neighbors to nomadic people, and they coexist in the same space, as the livestocks and gazelles share the same pasture land. In this body of work, the main idea is in the fictional side of the story, where the gazelle’s fear of having no space to go is portrayed in the metamorphose of its legs turning into human hands, and all of this is happening in the gazelle’s dream. Both the soft sculpture and collage work portray the transformed gazelle with human hands; and the video work shows the depth of the collage work on paper by showing a moving image inside the gazelle figure, which shows a rescued baby gazelle with a wounded leg. The wounded leg cannot be used when it goes around and it is parallel to the idea of being restricted.
The video is a reminiscence of a dream with its dream like effects, but it is the only realistic—figurative image in this body of works. So, the baby gazelle in the video represents the physical body of the gazelle, whereas the gazelles represented in the collage work and soft sculpture are metaphorical figures that connect to the spiritual world and it is derived from the unconsciousness of the physical body. The fear of being restricted by metal fences in the grassland, causing the spiritual body of the gazelle to metamorphose its legs into human hands. The human hand is a symbol of creation, but it’s also a threat from the animals’ perspective. In other words, through the dream of the gazelle, by turning its legs into human hands I am showing how the gazelles are becoming incapable/restricted of moving freely. In addition, the conversation behind the video is also a direct reflection of current situations in the grassland, where visitors and locals are talking about minings taking place in their pasture land and current small news from the authorities.
Gazelles graze in vast territories, but humans are intersecting and taking over that space by building long railroads, roads and mining sites followed by fences that cut through hundreds of kilometers through gazelle pastures. There have been a lot of incidents of gazelles being tangled in those metal fences and dying in great numbers. The idea of my trilogy of installations derived from this tragic but true reality of the situations the Mongolian steppe, which is a tension between manmade and nature. Nomadic lifestyle is changing, transforming, shifting. This incident of manmade taking over grassland and its animals, is a reflection of how nomadism is not the same anymore because of how it is bringing certain oppositions to its true nature. Nomadism is not only about nomadic people, but also the environment that surrounds them and its animals that come within.
My background in painting and stage designgives significance in staging and posture in my works to deliver narration through visuals, so the gesture and posture of characters in my works are highly important and they are the vehicle to bring voice of the story. The idea of a dream is very abstract, but the idea of falling into sleep is like a segue to the abstract, or in other words, for me, a spiritual world. The monochromatic yet shiny and soft material aspect of a fabric I used in my soft sculpture is a way to embody the spiritual and metaphorical qualities of the spiritual world in my works.
Soft sculptures are similar to paper works to me because they both put together little separate pieces of materials to create one whole thing. Stitching and sewing details in soft sculptures are like pulse beat in veins of a body. Sewing a soft sculpture is a form of fixing/correcting mistakes because when I start a soft sculpture I quickly assemble a loose figure, and then by correcting and working meticulously on details, it gradually forms a desired shape. This act of fixing is parallel to the idea of caring in my works, where it connects to concepts of healing and liberation of a mind. The unknown death of hundreds of gazelles are not drawing into people’s attention, but through the act of creating them into an art form and by fixing and caring, I’m trying to initiate a dialogue around this issue to draw greater attention to this problem.
Munkhtsetseg JalkhaajavDream of a Gazelle (front), multimedia installation, stretch fabric, sponge, thread and wires, 150x80x30cm, 2020-2021;
软雕塑对我来说就是纸作品，因为他们都是将一片片小的材料拼成一个完整的作品。缝合软雕塑的细节就像是身体脉搏的跳动。缝软雕塑是对错误的修正，因为做软雕塑时，我会先大体上完成一个不精确的形象，然后进行修整，细致地处理细节，渐渐就会出现预想的样子。这种修整与我对作品的关注是一致的，与疗愈和思想的释放是相关的。数以百计的瞪羚死去，人们对此却鲜有所闻，我希望通过艺术创作，不断修整，用关爱促成一场对话，唤起大家对这一问题的关注。 About Artist
Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav (Mugi) is a Mongolian contemporary artist, whose works range from painting to sculpture and performance to collage. Mugi was born in 1967 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She graduated from the Fine Art College, Ulaanbaatar in 1987, and currently lives and works in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Between 1989 and 1992, she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Minsk Theater. However, she chose not to graduate because of her dissatisfaction with the curriculum under the socialist regime. “Healing” and “rebirth” are key words in her works. Through her work, she engages with our constant ambition of searching for our inner self and attempts of creating ourselves by the idea of “becoming wholesome”. The aura of the her works and concepts are very much inspired by Mongolian traditions and spiritual healing. Mugi’s recent solo exhibitions include Inner Passage or A Journey through Vulnerability at Art Space 976+ Ulaanbaatar, Healing at Toono Gallery Ulaanbaatar, Reincarnation at Personal Structures collateral in Venice Biennial 2015, Palazzo Bembo, Italy, and group exhibitions Speaking Lights and Shadows, Art Space 976+, Ulaanbaatar, Beyond Heaven and Earth: Mongolian Art In This Day and Age, China Art Museum, Transcending Territories at Shin Thai Art Gallery, Huh Hot, China, Women In_Between: Asian Women Artists 1984 -2012, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum.
Nomadism involves political structures and living mechanisms nomads formed over years in their production and life. Along with the evolution of human history and civilization, this pattern of culture has offered the world a different cultural perspective. With a dynamic structure, it is in an ongoing process of changing or crossing the established boundary. The contemporary aspect of nomadism, in the overwhelming context of globalization, has penetrated our daily life and led to structures with differentiated values, which may help to restructure the world.
To an individual, mobile physical experience and sense-based perception are very important in breaking the conventional cognitive pattern. The contemporary practice in nomadism covers a wide range, from history and culture to nature and life style, in which field, everyone has unique experience and understanding. This art project brings different individual events together to show the possible values of the contemporary nomadic structure.
The artists to be invited will choose freely when and where to carry out this “Nomad” project. Any medium is acceptable, including but not limited to painting, sculpture, installation, performance, video, sound, music, dance, etc. The place can be everywhere, no matter it is a prairie, a desert, a mountainous region, a city, or even the cyberspace. “Go Nomadic Together” is intended as an open “nomadic” art experiment and a collection of individual cases as well .
Rhizomic Space, with no bricks or motar, is founded as a nomadic space by Qin Ga (Chyanga) at the end of 2011. Working through different channels and in different forms, it chooses social public spaces with mobility to launch and organize experimental art projects to explore the extension of contemporary art in social public places, the contingent aspect of space production, temporary structures, sustainable force, and the sculpture of transmigrated life. It has completed a series of projects, including “Packing Case Project”, “One Dream Project”, “Read Flag Primary School”, “Make Waves”,“Fly Together: Shijiezi Village Art PracticeProject”,“VolunteeringProject:People’sKindergarten”,"NomadRelays Project", "Go Nomadic Together Project "is currently on show.