Artist Chimeddorj (b.1954) has lived through a period of imposed cultural control during the socialist period as well as the transition to a peaceful democracy. His work I’m Bird (2016) consists of sixty bronze cranes, all moving in unison. Across Asia the crane is a symbol of happiness and eternal youth. They arrive in Mongolia for the summer and suddenly disappear, returning to Africa for the winter. They are resourceful in what they eat, changing their diet according to what’s available. Chimeddorj’s work introduces more complex associations, by combining their form and silhouette with that of a gun. The idea came to mind when he saw “a teaming crowd of young Mongolians in front of the Korean Embassy in Ulaanbaatar; they were standing in line to get visas to work in Korea.” This arresting work of ranks of birds, a sub group of reptiles and the last living examples of dinosaurs, mixes unsettling associations of history, strife, exodus and foreboding. Chimeddorj is questioning where modern goals lead us and to what extent the restless quest for new worlds destroys the old ones.

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