Matèria is pleased to present Imagining for Real, the first solo exhibition in Rome by Bekhbaatar Enkhtur (Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, 1994), curated by Enrico Camprini.
The title of the exhibition, which references a recent book by anthropologist Tim Ingold, represents an effective formula for evoking Enkhtur’s practice, in which imaginative, material, symbolic and historical-cultural dimensions coexist.
The exhibition aims to present the artist’s work, offering a glimpse into his approach, which focuses on the various expressions of the medium of sculpture and, more generally, on the processes of shaping matter and its interaction with space and the viewer.
Bekhbaatar Enkhtur’s practice is mainly realized through the creation of sculptures, often conceived in close relation to the place that hosts them. Proud and at the same time fragile images of zoomorphic figures - wolves, dragons, horses, foxes - represent an iconographic repertoire drawn from the myths and traditions of Mongolia that the artist intends to evoke, but above all they trace the coordinates of a sculptural practice that tends toward the ephemeral. In fact, the vital force of his works is revealed in a sort of self-destructive tension: Enkhtur’s sculptures are often impermanent interventions that are born in the exhibition space and are not intended to survive.
Starting from visual references resulting from chance encounters or from characteristic elements of the cultural and religious context of his homeland, the artist conceives the exhibition space as a place inhabited by a series of presences belonging to an imaginative world, yet simultaneously strongly anchored in reality.
The focal point of the Imagining for Real is a site-specific work in wax and straw created by the artist in the gallery in the days preceding the opening, inspired by the event of the demolition of the Janraisig in Ulaanbaatar. The Migjid Janraisig statue, over 26 meters high, was erected in 1913 as a symbol of Mongolia’s political independence but was removed by Soviet troops during World War II and later rebuilt in 1996. The visual and symbolic reference to this historical event - which centers iconoclasm as a theme of great and renewed importance - allows Enkhtur to deeply question some of the central questions within his practice: exhibition space as a metaphorical one, and sculpture as a reflection on the temporality and impermanence of matter.
The artist’s research aims to bring out the intrinsic qualities of the materials used, both organic and inorganic, giving them a semblance of perceptible life in their progressive change, and common deterioration, as well as in the evidence of the gesture impressed in the molding of his sculptures.