Mongolia: Unexplored Territory

Imago Mundi

Contemporary artists from Mongolia

Unexplored territory
I have known Mongolia for about ten years. It is a remote land – stretching between Russia and China – four times the size of Italy, but with just three million inhabitants. The population is expected to increase to five million by 2030, but today, from the Altai mountains to the Gobi desert, the overwhelming sensation is one of a primordial silence, conducive to meditation.

Tsolmonbayar Batbaatar - Blue Flag (2013)

In a rapidly standardising world, Mongolia is an unspoiled space of great natural and spiritual beauty, where the activities of daily life still follow the rhythm of the seasons. The subsoil, for example, is rich in raw materials, from coal to oil, copper and gold, but the earth is frozen for six months of the year, making them difficult to extract.

Batmunkh Choijilnamsrai - Dressage Of Brumby (2013)

Tserenchimed Battulga - Youth (2013)

Munkhtsetseg Batmunkh - Mongolian Brand (2012)

A primitive urbanisation sits alongside the herders, who have nomadism in their blood; they rear their livestock, from which they produce excellent cashmere. Getting to know them is a truly authentic experience. They live in traditional gers – circular felt tents, described by Herodotus as early as 400 BC – which to my mind represent veritable masterpieces of northerly design. On the outskirts of the capital Ulan Bator and in the desert they are set together in clusters.

Munkhbat Baatar - Sukhbaatar Square (2013)

Ochbold Batjargal - Talisman Of Blue Sky (2013)

Rinchinochir N. - Mongolian Traditional Painting (2012)

There I was able to see how the herders live in a space between the age – old rhythms of nature and the fragments of modernity – with satellite dishes and parked cars outside their traditional tents. In the areas further from the city, they organise sporting events like in ancient times, where the horse is the central focus. Mongolian horses are small but very sturdy, and able to withstand long journeys and extreme climates. The traditional horse racing goes back into the mists of time, probably as far back as Genghis Khan himself.

Ganzorig Dangaa - Those Dainty (2013)

Delgertsetseg Battulga - Lullaby (2013)

Enkhtur Pulj - Warm Talk (2013)

Chadraabal Adiyabazar - Benetton Bull (2013)

Ulan Bator is a capital city destined to become very modern, thanks to major investments; a city animated by turbulent development (changing from a small town to a metropolis in just twenty years), which is now curbed by the judicious management of the public administration, following principles introduced by international consultants.

Odgerel Tsulbaatar - Who, When Will Do For Us? (2013)

Vandan Badamjav - Orphan Colt (2013)

Altanchimeg Chagdgavaa - One Body (2013)

The Mongolians that I have met in person have all proved to be excellent businesspeople. They are warm, interested, sporting in the true sense, ready to take risks and to fully assume their responsibilities.

Olzbaatar Tserendorj - Morning (2013)

Batbaatar B. - Untitled (2012)

Sukhburen N. - Untitled (2012)

I believe that this collection of works by artists of all ages can help us to understand a country that aspires to modernity, while preserving the vigorous roots of its past. Mongolian art tells us of the enchantment of nature. The infinite horizons and deep spirituality of Mongolia attract the attention of the Western world.

Luciano Benetton

Telmen Bayasgalan - Legend (2013)

Credits: Story

Catalogue Editing
Tseelei Battogtokh
Oyunbat Nyamdeleg

Editorial Coordination
Enrico Bossan

Art Direction
Namyoung An

Enkhbayasgalan Battogtokh
Valentina Granzotto

Gansukh Burendorj (Mongolian)
Cristina Ermacora (Italian)
Caroline Henderson (English)

Narantsetseg Magvan
Studio Intra

Marco Pavan

Mauro Bedoni

Enkhtuya B. - 'Meditation'

Project Management
Oyunbat Nyamdeleg

Valentina Granzotto

Editorial Coordination
Enrico Bossan

Luciano Benetton
Ch. Boldbaatar
Ts. Uranchimeg

Editing And Translation
Emma Cole
Jozef Falinski
Narantsetseg M.
Tom Ridgway
Pietro Valdatta

Art Direction
Namyoung An

Marco Pavan

Marco Pavan

Special Thanks To
Luciano Benetton
Gherardo Viani
Gansukh B.
Battogtokh Ts.
Enkhbayasgalan B.

Tsengunjav Gurjav - Mongolian Mistress

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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