I Resemble my Mongolia
Murun Sum, Khentii Aimag, 2018
Photos: Bat-Orgil Battulga
From the catalogue:
Camille Biddell’s concern as an artist is to resist the homogeneity of mass production through the use of clay. She says ‘The repetition and rituals linked to ceramics are meditative, engaging and direct, values I find to be lacking from daily life, which is increasingly mediated through (digital) screens rather than tangible experience.’
The artist worked in a children's summer camp in Mongolia some years ago. Since in her view ‘ceramics often symbolise sharing and conversation’ it seemed a natural thing to organise a ceramics workshop for local people during LAM 2018.
Her artwork was inspired by the way in which, as she says, a ‘landscape can trigger memories or déjà vu – sometimes when returning to a place the memories can be stronger than the present, like ghosts’. Memories and the present flow into what may be imagined memories, until the past, present and future merge.
For the Land Art Mongolia Biennial, I decided make a tribute to the people I had met on my travels through Mongolia; the people who felt integral to the landscape, and who had painted a vivid picture of what Mongolia is. A magnificent rock, surveying the valley from up high was carved and eroded to resemble an ancient amphitheatre or cave dwellings. I sculpted small but detailed figures to sit upon it, (thirty-two in total), each one based on someone from my voyage, who had bestowed some wisdom or kindness upon me. I used the clay from Ulaanbaatar, clay I found on site, and clay I had dug in the U.K., mixed with sand from the Gobi. Inadvertently, these figures might reference the larger journey of their inception. I left them in the landscape, where they will eventually decay and return to the earth. The title I resemble my Mongolia is the name of one of the Mongolian folk songs the artists shared with us, symbolic of their pride for their country.