Meet our artists: Curatorial project of Orna Tsultem

Alter/Native Realities of Modern Mongolia

Enkhbold Togmidshiirev

“In her study of traditionally pastoral societies, such as Mongolia, historian Li Narangoa has pointed out that they have developed a “divided urbanism–pastoralism, in which both the new urban citizenry and the pastoral communities are under the complex rule of a new city-based elite, international institutions and the market.” The exhibition of four Mongolian artists, accompanied by a curatorial commentary, will explore the transformational changes through a lens of roads in rural and urban settings of Mongolia. This project uses a concept alter/native, first coined by an anthropologist Uradyn Bulag in his analysis of rapidly rising urbanization in the case of Mongolia.

For Bulag, this process entails cultural adaptation and transformation which he has called “alter/native modernity,” that is, separate from the vision of modernity as different from Dilip Gaonkar’s “alternative” to the Western paradigm. Moreover, the very process of alteration—of traditions and cultural values, of modes of life and pastoral migrations—tangible and visible in the network of roads in the case of Mongolia is the focus of this exhibition.”