EAST MEETS WEST IN MONGOLIA
New York artist FAILE has unveiled a new sculpture that has been designed to speak to the future of Mongolia. Entitled, ‘Wolf Within’, the 5m fiberglass creation was unveiled last week at National Garden Park, a new 1650 acre project in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. ‘Wolf Within’ is created for the global Tiger Translate initiative that aims to uncover the best emerging creative talents across Asia and provide them with opportunities to collaborate with their more established Western counterparts. It represents the first US-Mongolian collaboration of this nature.
Following a successful partnership in 2006 where Tiger Translate invited FAILE to Shanghai, they once again approached the pioneering artists with the unique proposition to conceptualize a sculpture that would be a permanent installation in Mongolia, the world’s fastest growing economy.
In conjunction with the Mongolian Arts Council, Tiger Translate invited local sculptor and craftsman Batmunkh to realize a concept created by FAILE and add his personal interpretation to their sculpture.
Over a five month period, drawings, sketches and ideas were transmitted backwards and forwards between New York and Ulan Bator. Tiger and the Arts Council facilitated the process by acting as cultural and linguistic interpreters.
With the intention of creating a piece that would resonate with the Mongolian people, the end product is a sculptural interpretation of FAILE’s earlier silkscreen artwork, which Batmunkh created with fiberglass at a height of 5 meters.
The figure – a man cloaked in wolf pelt, tearing away the remnants of a two-piece suit in revelation-is familiar for those acquainted with FAILE’s work. ‘Wolf Within’ was conceived during the 2008 financial crisis as a vivid illustration that the bull-market couldn’t last forever, and a world out of balance can only sustain itself for so long. Representing the reclamation of the animal spirit, the sculpture is a call to Mongolia to never forget its roots. Reinforcing this idea is the ornate Mongolian pattern on the base which was designed by Batmunkh as a celebration of grounding traditions. At a time when Mongolian faces incredible changes developing form a historically pastoral society to a quickly urbanizing country, ‘Wolf Within’ is a reminder of nature’s strength, and its ambivalent dance with big money.