STOMACH by O.Altankhuyag
With his latest exhibition, “Stomach,” O. Altanhuyag transforms the 976 Art Gallery into a charged space reminiscent of those created by the works of minimalist artists like Robert Morris or Donald Judd. His small wooden boxes mounted and suspended around the gallery have striking presence as literalist forms alone. Upon closer inspection, however, the small and finely detailed paintings on a single face of each cuboid add complexity to the sculptures. It is with this juxtaposition of bare form and carefully rendered, colorful images that O. Altanhuyag strives to capture the long-running clash between humanity and industrialization.
In addition to being a member of the Blue Sun Mongolian Contemporary Art Center and student of professor and artist T. Enkhbold, O. Altanhuyag has the distinction of being one of the up-and-coming Mongolian artists who grew up during the transition period: from socialism to democracy, and from pastoralism to urbanization.
Like many of this generation, O.Altanhuyag’s work reflects these themes of incomplete or unresolved change. In “Stomach” he does this by taking the miniaturized forms of mining excavation equipment and adding color and softness to them with his paintings. As Yo.Dalkh-Ochir, the head of the Blue Sun Contemporary Art Center, writes, “the artist … suggest[s] that humans existing in the society are like machinery. From his works the one can hear continuous noise of the train and feel the sound of hoe dippers working throughout the night in the city.”
But, to my mind, they also remind us that, while humanity and machinery are now linked, perhaps even inextricably, the humanness expressed in creativity and art making exists on a different plane, just as it does on O. Altanhuyag’s boxes.
The exhibition dates are 26 of December, 2014 at 976 Art Gallery.
by Emma Ellis