Dialogue with Odonchimeg Davaadorj: the Untold Sto...

Dialogue with Odonchimeg Davaadorj: the Untold Stories of a Spiritual Traveler

Until March 23rd, 2024, the CAR Gallery in Bologna showcases the Untold Stories by Odonchimeg Davaadorj, a multidisciplinary artist with a rich personal and artistic history. Indeed, her journey from Mongolia to Europe has profoundly shaped the art of this young artist, blending elements of her Mongolian heritage with Western influences. Through her work, Davaadorj explores themes of identity, spirituality and connection with nature.

Odonchimeg Davaadorj, “Untold stories”, installation view, courtesy CAR Gallery, Bologna

Antonella Buttazzo: Can you tell us more about your growth experience in Mongolia and how it has influenced your approach to art?
Odonchimeg Davaadorj: The most important influence from my artistic background in Mongolia is the interest in all forms of life. I enjoy working with living beings because there is so much to explore. I imagine it stems from memories of my childhood in the village, where my parents had a small farm. They were hardworking couple, raising many animals and growing lots of fruits and vegetables during the short Mongolian summer. When I think back to my childhood, I am extremely grateful and feel fortunate to have lived with all these magnificent living beings, who have shaped me into who I am today.

What prompted you to leave Mongolia to move to Europe, and how has this journey influenced your artistic work?
One reason was the desire for a financially more comfortable life and, on the other hand, I wanted to experience different cultures and meet new people, which presented huge challenges, especially in the beginning. My path to Art was not immediate when I arrived in Europe. Let’s say that after studying different subjects and working chaotically for a few years, life somehow led me to Art, where I feel at home.

Odonchimeg Davaadorj, “Untold stories”, installation view, courtesy CAR Gallery, Bologna

Could you talk about the role of Nature and Mongolian culture in your artistic work, both before and after your arrival in Europe?
First of all, I always strive to work as an artist, not just as a Mongolian artist. Of course, I cannot deny my origins, nor do I want to. However, I don’t consider it a priority. But I can see traces of my background in my work. My studies in Fine Arts were transformative, as they broadened my understanding of Art and Humanity.

How do you choose materials and techniques to express your artistic ideas and what are the challenges and rewards of this choice?
As a multidisciplinary artist, I explore various mediums, although I mainly focus on drawing. I like to test new media and see how they can change the meaning of my work. Sometimes I feel that certain ideas can only be expressed through drawing, ceramics, or painting. I try to have the freedom to switch between media according to the needs of my ideas.

Odonchimeg Davaadorj, “Untold stories”, installation view, courtesy CAR Gallery, Bologna

What is the symbolic meaning of the color red in your artistic work and why do you choose to use it so frequently?
The use of red, or any other color, depends on my artistic mood and the subject I want to explore. Red, for me, is a powerful color because it symbolizes life, being the color of blood. I feel it closer to us because we all have red in our bodies, the very essence of life.

Could you share some artistic influences that have shaped your style and artistic vision?
There are many artists whose works or biographies I admire. Louise Bourgeois is a good example. However, nowadays, I am more attracted to young artists and their courage, freedom, and creativity. It is admirable to see these young artists face the challenges of the art world with so much energy and determination.

How do you integrate themes such as feminism and environmental protection into your artistic work, and what messages do you seek to convey through them?
I modestly try to remind us all that we are interconnected, that all living beings are connected and we need each other to survive. My art serves as a reflection of this interconnectedness, aiming to convey messages of unity and environmental protection.

Odonchimeg Davaadorj, “Untold stories”, installation view, courtesy CAR Gallery, Bologna

Could you describe the creative process behind your emotional portraits and landscapes, and how do you try to communicate emotions through your work?
When I work on portraits, both drawing and painting, I try to capture the essence of the subject’s soul. I try to find that exact point where I feel their soul resides. For me, creating portraits is a spiritual journey. Drawing inspiration from Agnès Varda’s quote, «If we opened people, we’d find landscapes. If I opened myself, I’d find beaches», I explore the connection between people and their environments. I create stories that blend memory and fiction, inviting others to see themselves in my narratives.

Finally, what are your future projects and the directions you envision for your artistic career?
Currently, I am working on a group exhibition at Gallery Akinci in Amsterdam and preparing for a solo exhibition at the Museo Ettero Fico in Turin in 2024. I plan to further explore ceramics and sculpture, giving physical form to my works on paper and challenging myself in new artistic directions.


Odonchimeg Davaadorj. Untold stories
3.2.2024 – 23.3.2024
CAR Gallery
Via Azzo Gardino, 14/a – Bologna


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