MONGOLIA has a living tradition of nomadic life specific in its everyday interaction with nature. The nomads live through seasonal migration without causing any modifications to environment and create their life based solely on natural resources. The Mongolia Pavilion presents Unen Enkh and Enkhbold Togmidshiirev, two artists who work with organic materials from Mongolian nomadic culture and raise questions about global problems of cultural otherness and displacement.
The Mongolia Pavilion consists of two types of art presentation: a sedentary pavilion space at the Palazzo Mora and a nomadic pavilion with artist Enkhbold’s performances presented in designated public spaces throughout the city of Venice. Unen Enkh’s sculptures explore the culturally-laden products of nomadic traditions, such as felt and horsehair, in juxtaposition to metal and wood. Enkhbold’s two-dimensional works, made primarily of horse dung, ash, tripe, sand, and shrub, are displayed at the Palazzo Mora.
Venice was first built by mainland residents fleeing invasions by nomads, including Attila and the Huns in the 5th century. Centuries later, the Venetian merchant Marco Polo (1254–1324) traveled to the Mongol Empire, where he spent 16 years at Khubilai Khaan’s (1215-1294) court. Enkhbold, building upon the historical legacy of Venice’s relationship with nomads and Mongols, brings his performance art to the heart of Venice by nomadizing around the city and socializing with local Venetians and visitors. The idea of social interaction between people without dependence on modern technologies is central in Enkhbold’s performance art.
Mongolia opened its doors to the world in 1990 after seven decades under a socialist regime. Contemporary artists of the new Mongolia have been exploring issues of identity in the current post-socialist era of political, social, and cultural change. The works of both artists here presented are rooted in nature, suggesting that industry does not bring people and cultures closer together. The Mongolia Pavilion responds to modern-day problems of alienation and displacement through a multifaceted notion of what constitutes one’s “home” in a global world.
Artists: UNEN ENKH
Curator: URANCHIMEG TSULTEM
Commissioner: GANTUYA BADAMGARAV
Organizer: MONGOLIAN CONTEMPORARY ART SUPPORT ASSOCIATION