ASIA PACIFIC TRIENNIAL 9 at QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY – GALLERY OF MODERN ART
Enkhbold Togmidshiirev’s Paintings Incorporate a Range of Media
Enkhbold Togmidshiirev is a painter and performance and installation artist best known for his large-scale, monochromatic canvases executed in materials derived from his nomadic culture, and improvised performances using the ger, the traditional Mongolian home.
Created in parallel to his performance work, Enkhbold’s restrained colour-field paintings incorporate unusual media — horse dung, felt, shrubs, ash, rust, sheep skin and tripe — which are either laid over the canvas or worked into its fibres.
These materials are sourced from the countryside, when the artist returns to his homeland, and undergo extensive preparation before he uses them in his paintings. The dung, for instance, is dried and crumbled, and sifted three times to ensure a fine consistency. It is then applied over a base of gelatine and gel, or mixed into the base directly, after which it is covered in acrylic paint. Horse dung can differ in colour and texture depending on the season and the specific environmental conditions of the animals, and so the material provides the artist with a shifting palette.
Occasionally, Enkhbold incorporates collage into his paintings, and fabrics such as cotton, silk and hessian vary the surfaces of his works, introducing formal devices like Rothko-esque horizontal fields through stitching and textural contrast.
Enkhbold’s vast planes of colour and tone are determined exercises in abstraction, an abstraction that the artist also emphasises in the form of his performative ger. It is the materiality of his works, like the performances they complement, that preserves a strong connection with both traditional and contemporary Mongolian life.