The Art of TodayThe Mongol Messenger
MONTSAME interviewed young artist D.Odonchimeg who is currently residing and creating her arts in France and promoting the name ‘Mongolia’ to all over the world by participating in many major art exhibitions abroad.
-First of all, what are the pros and cons of studying abroad?
-It brings me nothing but joy to come back home. After spending many years in foreign country, one cannot help but to dream of one’s home. Sometimes I miss a lot, and life seems so cramped. But I came here to study, work, moreover, to raise the name of my parents and country. Therefore, I nurture my minds with the idea that I need to create, and keep myself as busy as possible yearning my home.
-We always seek something clarity in art as we seek light in life. Do you think your works give this feeling to others?
-I do not know whether my works give the people light and it is probably not my main purpose. I find it pointless if you create art just to give others a light. It is up to the individual to decide whether he or she will get a light or a dark from the art. But it does not mean that I am not keen on giving a light to others. Because the art itself is an extremely cruel thing. To that extent, I think the language of art can convey the good and the bad of life more accurately than religion.
-Today, most art works are full of surprises. Most art is full of images of freedom. Your paintings seemed to show how people were sacrificing themselves for the impossible, even though they gave the impression of being too greedy for freedom. Do I understand correctly?
-Maybe so. As I mentioned above, I want my work to evoke a strange feeling in the depths of the human heart. In the depths of our souls are candles that we do not light, that we cannot light, that we do not know. To light that candle and light up the darkness inside, one needs to have a flashing sensation. Sometimes I feel that way. The moment you marvel at the work of others, the hidden talents within you are revived. That's why I want to inspire other people's feelings and leave deep-seated thoughts in their hearts. I hope that those who dream of quiet contemplation will enjoy my works. (laughs)
-Some researchers believe that modern art does not need explanations. But in any art, there is a duty to enlighten society. How do you feel about that?
-An artist must first be able to criticize his or her work. The most important thing is to understand what you are trying to say. Then I think I should share it with others. But you don't have to explain everything in words and letters. It's more interesting to keep some things a secret.
-You got a master's degree from the Paris College of Art. Could you tell us about your times back in the college?
Yes. I got my master's degree in June, last year with “distinction”. Our school is an art school, the people in the college are very open and friendly. Students from many countries live together which means very ethnically diverse. The clothes, the customs, the food might be different but they all do have a heart for an art. As the only Mongolian student in my school, my teachers were really good to me. Training is also professional-oriented. While studying, I got to know the galleries.
-You just mentioned that you got your degree with “distinction”. Could you please clarify this?
-it's like graduating with a red diploma in Mongolia and I also got my bachelor’s degree that way.
-You have been living in France for more than seven years. How about describing your mentality and style of painting as "French"?
-It can be said that I have learned everything in France. So my general approach to art may be a bit more European. But no matter what I do, I am a Mongolian artist, and every time I participate in an exhibition abroad, I emphasize my name as a Mongolian artist. People know me by my country. Some people even say "Chinggis's Mongolia" happily.
-What do artists from other countries think about Mongolian art?
-In general, artists from other countries are very interested in our country and they want to study all aspects of customs and national art. The works of our ancestors and the great artists from the twentieth century amaze them. So I hope they think what I think (laughs). I once have read that Mongolian paintings were not really popular. People are more interested in the works of someone popular and someone from the country where the arts have developed very well. Although these great arts have made a significant contribution to the development of Mongolian fine arts, it is now clear that the world has a slightly different approach to Mongolian paintings and national art. I have been living in France for several years and there was not a single moment that I have been far from my homeland. In my heart, I have studied along with all the people close to me, with the mountains and forests of my homeland, and every time I met others, I talked about Mongolia and defined myself as Mongolian.
-I suppose you have visited the Louvre more than once as you are residing in France. Which paintings and sculptures impressed you the most?
I visit this world-famous museum, which opened in 1973, whenever I have time. It has not only the art works of France, there are the most wonderful creations of whole humankind there. The museum presents the most precious art works of ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt, which played a significant role in human civilization. One of the works that fascinates me the most is "Winged Victory of Samothrace". It somehow feels similar to my works and I think that the thing feels closest to you is the most valuable.
-Recently, most people have started to create their works using installation and contemporary methods. But your paintings and mixed technical creations seem to have softer colors and their own standards for installation. In what style do you create your art?
-I create contemporary art. Because I am a person of this time.
-I think you had a bigger reason than the fact that you are the person of this time. Could you tell us your reason behind beginning to create your works in a contemporary style?
-Simply put, there are many people who think that only basic types such as paintings or sculptures should be works of art. Instead, this style proclaims that even things that are not recognized as art to the naked eye can be art. It is part of unlimited freedom. The most interesting thing is that a contemporary art has a lot of freedom to create art, which is very aesthetic and technical, and it can be clearly seen in the materials used and how the work is being shared with others. So it's not just a collection of incoherent items. For instance, the artist does not have to hang the painting on the wall. The main thing is to place it where it should be.
Some people criticize the artists that they create strange things that no one, not even themselves, can understand, and call it a modern art. How do you feel about it?
-Actually, such things are often observed. It is up to the eyes and minds of the individual how to judge. The universe we live in is changing so fast. In that sense, the number of people who say that art is full of surprises has increased.
-I saw the works of your joint exhibition “Art vision”. It didn't seem like you have framed any of your paintings. Why is that?
-I couldn't bring my best works to the exhibition. Most of my works lie outside the frame. Because they are not ornaments. Sometimes I feel like I have a third eye. When I look at things with those eyes, everything around me looks different. Either this is the imagination or the real image of that thing, I think. When I have these feelings, there is a feeling that does not make me want to frame my paintings.
-Most of your works have depictions of severed human organs and I suppose it should have its own philosophy?
-I don't like to draw people's faces. I'm afraid It will look like someone close to me. The human body is a very strange and mysterious world. There are a lot of "headless" people among us who seem to have a head on their shoulders which is physically, but they don't have their own head, their own views and perspectives.
-It feels like you were the child who loved to draw?
-Yes. When I was young, I used to draw a lot. I remember drawing a lot of five types of livestock. I displayed my exhibition of paintings I had drew on the walls of my school when I was in high school. My best memories. Every time I look back, it feels like the little girl inside me is resurrected and it makes me want to scribble a lot of things that are crooked and crooked like a child. Our descendants have been craftsmen for seven generations. Maybe it's the power of gene that has inspired me to become an artist.
-Tell us about your family. Is there an artist in your home?
-There is no one in my family who dedicated his or her life to art and makes a living by creating works. There are people who have their own talents in painting and carving. They have always supported me. It is true that the farther away you are from what you value, the more you realize it.
-Why did you first decide
to study in France? Have you ever studied the teaching methods of art schools in
-I have never studied in Mongolia, so I don't know what it's like. My childhood dream was to go and study where art geniuses like Dali and Picasso lived and started their careers and I was able to fulfill my dream. The biggest reason is that I prefer to walk and study with the best young people from many countries in a world-renowned and competitive environment.
-Who do you admire the most as an artist?
-There is a man named Louise Bourgeois from France. What is the real truth? The answer to this question seems to be given by his works.
-Do you create your own environment to create your works? What environment do you enjoy painting in?
-I don't need a big luxury studio or a gold brush. All I need is to have a bright and sunny room when I am painting.
-Do you want to sit in a bright, quiet room and draw at the moment instead of talking?
- No, it's not. It's nice to talk. Human beings are social animals. As long as I work and live on the globe right now, I need to connect with other people.
-How did you feel when you went to study abroad? Did you feel something 'Run out of gas' emotionally? Or vice versa?
-Everytime I talk about my home, I get little sad over the fact that I would eventually leave my country to pursue the path I chose. But what makes me feel relieved is that I'm going to faraway to achieve my goal of raising the name of my country and my parents with my art. When I get on a plane, it feels like something is holding me, but I can grit my teeth and walk away.