By LUCY THOMPSON
“The End Rushing into the Beginning” is a powerful exhibition by O.Enkhtaivan, discussing Mongolia’s relationship with the West and with its own heritage. On view at 976 Gallery until early May, the fascinating use of multimedia and engaging concept of doubles make this exhibition well worth a visit.
Looking back on Mongolian history, O.Enkhtaivan’s first inspiration was the idea of a person’s next life after death and the nothingness in between. This connects well with the second theme, which explores the balance of new Western influences and Mongolia’s roots.
The artist communicates this through his use of wool and coffee: the wool, representative of the cashmere industry and nomadic lifestyle, is contrasted with coffee beans, which symbolise Western countries. Although wool has a strong smell, coffee smells stronger. However, some pieces in the exhibition also suggest that Mongolia is pushing back against this takeover. For instance, one piece features a sheet of metal pressing down on wool, but spikes of wool break through the surface of the metal.
The imperfect pairs, doubles, and reflections encourage close inspection of every piece, while the multimedia elements of the exhibition engage all the senses. The texture of the wool provides a sharp contrast to the heavy, industrial nails and smooth, dark coffee beans, all of which are intensified as the installation in the gallery forces visitors to get very close to the pieces.
O.Enkhtaivan, a professor at the University of Arts and Culture, has held exhibitions all over the world, from the United States to Japan, China, and Singapore, and more recently he has shown his work at Q Gallery. He has had previous exhibitions at 976 Gallery. However, the artist considers this exhibition to be more experimental than previous endeavors.