Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav: A Journey Through Vulnerability

Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav: A Journey Through Vulnerability

Mongolian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

May 16, 2022
Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav
A Journey Through Vulnerability
April 23–November 27, 2022
Mongolian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Arsenale Castello 2127A, Campa della Tana
30122 Venice
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–7pm

T +976 9916 9084
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The fourth appearance of Mongolia at the 59th Venice Biennale presents A Journey Through Vulnerability, featuring Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav (Mugi), one of the foremost figures of contemporary art in Mongolia. 

About Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav (Mugi)
Mugi’s artistic practice incorporates sculptures, paintings, videos, and performances and explores the notion of pain, fear, healing, and rebirth. Mainly reflecting her personal experiences, Mugi’s work investigates the complexities of female bodies, minds, and souls, and the connection with oneself and nature, capturing the tensions between different realms. Seemingly fictional yet grounded, her unique works embody invisible forces, such as spirits and myths, and tell sensible stories of women, unborn children, and the sorrowful fates of animals.

Inspired by Mongolian traditional healing methods and spiritual therapy, the process of her artistic creation is deeply intuitive and ritual-like. Through embodiments of the subject matter that evoke strong sentiments and juxtapositions of symbolic elements used for healing and protection, she meditatively examines the nature of her own anxiety and the process of its healing. Her particular ways of tearing, cutting, collating and stitching imply pain, anxiety, fear, hope and patience and create a specific language that allows Mugi to articulate and manifest her inner feelings and visions. In her works, birds represent the pulse of life, pregnancy, healing and protection, whereas female bodies represent her constant search for inner strength. The concept of reincarnation is the foremost interest of her artistic journey.

About the exhibition
A Journey Through Vulnerability presents a series of installations spread across three different rooms and narrates the stories of women and animals, offering the viewer a journey through the intimate, fragile yet powerful world of Mugi. The first room titled “Dream of Gazelle”, a small space like a barn, presents her multi-media installation, where a soft sculpture of a half-bodied gazelle lying on a metal-framed bed becomes whole through a video projection of a baby gazelle. Acting as a point of convergence, the second room titled “Pulse of Life” reflects Mugi’s main concept ‘cosmic body”, a term she adopted from the definition of samsara, meaning all particles and living organisms make up one whole universe. To signify that idea of wholeness, Mugi comprehends her series of installations, consisting of part-human and part-animal hybrid sculptures in a singular sense. Some of the sculptures installed in the room possess human limbs manifesting their desire to survive by becoming human-like, while others have given up their body parts with no place to go. In the last tiny room titled “Miscarriage”, Mugi presents her work Keeper of Protector Bird, referencing traditional protective spells and rituals performed to safeguard women from miscarriage. The occasional resounding of a jaw harp installed in the exhibition hall is produced by the curator of the show and made to resemble the traditional rituals of interacting with the transient souls and heighten the spatial and spiritual awareness. The overall exhibition explores the concept of samsara, compassion and healing.

The exhibition is curated by Gantuya Badamgarav, the founding director of the Mongolian Contemporary Art Support Association and Art Space 976+, based in Ulaanbaatar. She initiated and organized Mongolia’s first-ever participation at La Biennale di Venezia in 2015 and two subsequent editions in 2017 and 2019, curating the latter one. 

Commissioner: Nomin Chinbat, Minister of Culture of Mongolia 
Organizer: Mongolian Contemporary Art Support Association 
Main supporter: Ministry of Culture of Mongolia
Supporters: Embassy of Mongolia in Rome, Embassy of Italy in Mongolia
Sponsors: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Turkish Airlines, M-Oil Group, Iromax Group

Open hours: April 23 to November 27, 2022, 10am–7pm. Closed on Mondays (except Monday, April 25, May 30, June 27, July 25, August 15, September 5, September 19, October 31, November 21).
Address: Calle S. Biasio, Castello 2131, 30122 Venezia (80m to the south from the Arsenale entrance)
Contact: media [​at​] / T +39 3517309093 (Italy); +976 99051127; 976 94051127 (Mongolia)

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Mongolian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
May 16, 2022

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