Spirits of the Steppes – Luxe Art Museum, Singapore

It’s been a while since The Luxe Art Museum, a privately-owned art museum, has had any exhibition. I was very excited when I received an invitation to attend the opening of Spirits of the Steppes, a joint exhibition by Erdenebayar Monkhor and Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav.  This is because museum owner Ms Christina Sui has an eye for great artists, and she always brings in interesting works.

Spirits of the Steppes is a joint exhibition by Mongolian husband and wife, Erdenebayar Monkhor (Bayar) and Munkhtsetseg Jalkhaajav (Mugi). Although it’s a joint effort, their works are very different and the only similarity that they share is their love for Mongolian culture.

Bayar’s family used to raise horses.  Hence, it is no surprise that Bayar’s works involve his favourite animal, the horse.  Ninety percent of his semi-abstract paintings are focused on the majestic mammal.  To him, the horse symbolises power and energy. Even though Bayar stays true to his subject, every painting is different from the other.  It could be the colour, number of horses, settings and medium. He has experimented with different mediums and mixtures, such as oil paints with sand and horsetail. One of my favourite Bayar’s paintings is Steppe Winter, a 250cm x 150cm oil on canvas painting. Winter Steppe is a very strong and attention grabbing piece. Another of my favourites is Horse Year – Red. You cannot miss the 150cm x 120cm work because of the powerful image of the red horse. There are 3 paintings of this Horse Year series – white, grey and red.  But none grabs my attention like the red.

Unlike Bayar’s works, Mugi’s works are more feminine, almost maternal.  They are about healing and nurturing. Mugi is inspired by the female anatomy and the power of traditional medicine.  In Mongolian traditional medicine, it is believed that animals can bring healing. Whenever I admire her works, I couldn’t help but to feel a sense of peace and calm. Mugi uses a varied selection of mediums such as silk, fabric, oil and bronze. My two favourite pieces are Charm, a 150cm x 120cm oil on canvas work, and Body Air – Series 1, a 105cm x 70cm oil on canvas piece.

I was telling myself that I shouldn’t be buying anymore art pieces because I’ve ran out of walls to hang them.  But these powerful and interesting works by Bayar and Mugi are tempting me to make the irrational decision of buying first then think about the displaying them later. Or maybe I should start begging my friends to loan me their walls.

Spirits of the Steppes
Exhibition: April 25th to May 12th 2013
The Luxe Art Museum
6 Handy Road Singapore 229234

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