Jantsankhorol Erdenebayar

5 Jun 2024 – 3 Jul 2024

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00

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The old story of Michelangelo’s Moses involves an explanation of why the Biblical figure is represented (supposedly) as bearing two distinctive yet somewhat awkward-looking “horns” atop his head (making him look more like contemporary depictions of Poseidon or perhaps King Triton from the Little Mermaid movies). The story is that in the Hebrew text of Exodus 34, where Moses returns from his face-to-face encounter with the Yod- Hay-Vav-Hay, the prophet’s face is described as “shining” or “radiant” (qoren) which—through the vicissitudes of translation—is rendered as “horned” in the Latin Vulgate that forms the basis for Michelangelo’s depiction.

Jantsankhorol Erdenebayar’s Destined to Change presents horns in unusual places—though here not in the “demonizing” manner of Michelangelo’s tradition, but rather closer to the concept’s more original intention: as something like crowns or laurels of growth and adaptation; icons of resilience forged in the (gentle or brutal) passage of time.

Retaining the visual language of earlier work centered on the apportionment of the body, where each body-part provides a temporary residence for the Spirit, Erdenebayar here presents the horned Spirit as a horned body: feet, arms, an ear… They are bodies “destined to change,” as the show’s title announces, but they also harden and strengthen in an unmistakable process of forging. The work reminds us of Jantsa’s wooden pieces that prominently feature the evidence of burning and charring, here analogized by the tempering process of copper relief. Copper is eminently plastic when heated; hardness is a post-traumatic attribute.

Ultimately the artist uses these forms—the horned body, growing and hardening, the marking of time by the length or number of protrusions—to figure the complexities of resilience: to ask what is adaptation and what is maladaptation; to materialize the interplay between growth and death. Plants that are flexible and pliant when young can become brittle and fragile as they get older. Human beings are similar. Perhaps horns aren’t as unusual as one might think.

-Andrew Jampol-Petzinger

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Jantsankhorol Erdenebayar


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