ХАДГАЛАГДАХ, by Uuriintuya Dagvasambuu, Sep 5 – Oct 5, 2018
It might seem curious and peculiar to name this exhibition after a Mongolian word, which is difficult for non-Mongolian speakers to comprehend, let alone explain in terms of meaning and interpretation. While we can provide the obligatory commentary of the exhibition displaying pieces that divulge and expound upon a person’s innermost secrets, possessions, faculties, and thoughts locked within, forever saved within the minds and thoughts people – this time we have opted to slightly eschew from curating the exhibition under a singular meaning, theme, or symbolism.
Instead, we have curated this exhibition by tying the works with a befitting and corollary word and its root composition. I can’t seem to recall where I read it, but apparently the Mongolian world “Хадгалагдах” which means to be saved, was noted as the longest word in the world, which reads the same backward as forward. Following up on this, I have consulted the author and translator M. Saruul-Erdene who works and resides in the United States, who informed me that such words are referred to as “palindromes”. In Mongolian, such words are called “inverse” words. Just to note, the word “Хадгалагдах” isn’t the longest palindrome word in the world, the honor belongs to the Finnish word “Saippuakivikauppias”, as recorded by the Guinness Book of Records.
Most of the works displayed within the “Хадгалагдах – To be saved…” exhibition mimics the word “Хадгалагдах”, in the way that it reflects its unique verbal palindrome composition, where the pieces can be viewed from the perspective where the end and the beginning blur and are in fact the same.
While the concept isn’t new, the curation of the exhibition evolving around the concept of palindrome words felt the most suitable and appropriate in this case. In reference to the artist, even though she might perhaps adopt changes or explore new themes and mediums in the future, from the earliest of her works to the ones she creates presently, I have always enjoyed the consistency they retain, in the sense that they are transparently intertwined, in a way that is truly and uniquely hers.
While D.Uurintuya’s earlier works have reflected ideas and meanings that revolved around the social commentaries of issues, such as society being built upon the basis of nomadic culture, the frustrations of those submerged under the struggles of heavy and imposed traditions, distrust, over-consumption, competitiveness and jealousy, the over-congestion of traffic flow and the accidents it causes amidst teeming construction which spreads like mold spores, and the ironies of living within a overwhelmed and disorderly city despite living within a country that offers incomparable vast stretches of land – this time she presents pieces that are more focused on composition and structure rather than meaning and symbolism.
More often than not, it has become rather typical of the meanings, messages, and symbolism within contemporary art pieces to overshadow the many important facets that make up the piece, such as the structures, concepts, composition, design, color combination, images, and techniques of the work. Thus, for this exhibition we decided to curate pieces, which in D.Uurintuya’s own words are “without any specific or particular meaning or symbolism, but instead features images that have no direct correlation to one another whatsoever, aren’t pre-planned or pre-conceived, yet appear to be created with clear linear composition”. Art, can comprise pieces that are the culmination of tremendous effort and work, yet at the same time, can be pieces that are created simply as an extension of one’s thoughts, as simple as breathing.
Art is complicated, yet not complicated at all. Like what Batbayar Darmin once beautifully wrote, “when an artist seeks to draw a bird, he has to first draw a net, take it out into nature and visualize from afar a bird being caught within the net. If a bird is caught within the net, the artist then has to carefully erase the net, as to not spook the bird, after which the bird comes to life…” – art is just like this, just like how the bird is caught by being saved and saved by being caught – it can become an artistic palindrome.
Artist Uuriintuya is one of a few internationally known artists of Mongolia. Her name was mentioned twice as one of the top 100 female artists in Asia by Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan. And her work “Path to Wealth” featured the 8 Asia-Pacific Triennial, organized by Queensland Museum of Modern Art, Australia in 2015.
Essay translated by Dashdulam Budsuren