Faile in Mongolia


By Vincent Morgan |  Published on Monday, November 12, 2012.

New York artists duo FAILE has recently unveiled a new sculpture that has been designed to speak to the future of Mongolia. Interview and pictures inside.

Street art : Sculpture by Faile in Mongolia

Interview by Peishan Chen for FatCap Team.

The New York duo FAILE has recently unveiled a new sculpture that has been designed to speak to the future of Mongolia. Entitled, ‘Wolf Within’, the 5m fiberglass creation was unveiled at National Garden Park, a new 1650 acre project in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. ‘Wolf Within’ is created in conjunction with the global Tiger Translate initiative that aims to uncover the best emerging creative talents across Asia and provide them with opportunities to collaborate with their more established Western counterparts.  It represents the first US-Mongolian collaboration of this nature.

Over a five month period, drawings, sketches and ideas were transmitted backwards and forwards between New York and Ulan Bator. Tiger and the Mongolian Arts Council facilitated the process by acting as cultural and linguistic interpreters. With the intention of creating a piece that would resonate with the Mongolian people, the end product is a sculptural interpretation of FAILE’s earlier artwork, which Mongolian sculptor Batmunkh created in fiberglass at a height of 5 meters.

While in town for the sculpture unveiling, FAILE also found time to take to the streets to work with local Mongolian artists on a mural. They stenciled the same image eight times on the wall of an archway located in the central university district of Ulan Bator. Each Mongolian artist worked on customizing the girl’s dress in their own style. The Mongolian artists are recent finalists of the Tiger Translate Festival as well as ROAAD crew, Mongolia’s first street art crew.

Here’s an interview with FAILE on their sculpture and trip to Mongolia :

FatCap : What drew you to the project?

Faile : The location drew us to it as we have never been in Mongolia before. Mongolia has always fascinated both of us. The project proposal was a permanent sculpture located in the capital here which was really exciting. Sculpture is a really important part of our practice and it is just a great opportunity to create something on a bigger, permanent scale, which you don’t have the opportunity to do too often.

FC : What are your thoughts on seeing the sculpture in person?

F : I think we were both amazed by how the sculpture has turned out and came together. We are really excited by the setting it was placed in; it is really fitting for what the sculpture represents; one side has the mountains and nature and behind it is the rapidly urbanizing city.

FC : How was the experience of working with Mongolian sculptor Batmunkh on ‘Wolf Within’ and finally meeting him in person after all these months?

F : Working with him was really amazing. He was always accommodating and had no ego when it came to taking in our feedback. When we met in person, we were even more amazed by what a kind and genuine person he was.  He really seemed to appreciate the project and interested in creating a piece of work everyone was pleased with.

FC : So how did you find working on the mural with the Mongolian artists?

F : It was probably one of the highlights of our trip. We had the chance to work with local artists and it was just a fun day out there, meeting and chatting with people. They were all wonderful to work with. We liked the range; you get the hardcore punker type guys to girls whom you don’t get to work with very often on street art projects. Everyone offered something different in what they executed, their styles varied so that was great.

FC : So you went around doing your trademark stencils in Ulan Bator; what was the experience like?

F : We only did it for a couple of hours and it turned out to be a surprisingly great experience in the sense that people embraced the work. They were really inquisitive and wanted the work on their property. We just wished we had more time to do more.

FC : What are the cultural differences you have experienced since your arrival?

F : It seems like people are genuinely excited about the way things are growing and changing here. But it is difficult to say because so much is lost in translation and you can only experience people on an emotional level in five days. It’s so different in some ways and in other ways you hope that it retains its own quality and doesn’t become homogenous like in the West or more urbanized cities.

FC : What are your thoughts on Mongolia – perception vs reality?

F : We were expecting a more pastoral setting with perhaps some horses! Neither of us expected to see a city that is going through crazy growth right now, with a lot construction and cranes. There is a lot of pollution and coal-burning here, which we weren’t expecting. There is such a contrast right now between a city that is set in the past and one that is being built anew. It is interesting to see that happening and how that plays out for the city over time.

FC : What have been your highlights of this trip?

F : They have been the people that we have met on this trip, especially the local artists who we got to work with and seeing the sculpture in its setting. Actually, there have been a lot of highlights; every day has been filled with its own set of highlights. Everything was new and exciting, like nowhere else we have been before.

FC : So will you return to Mongolia again?

F : We would love to come back out again, visit the countryside and see how the city has developed in the next couple of years. We certainly feel like we have a link here now, a symbol that will be staying here and it will be nice to re-visit that.

FC : I think it is amazing that you will always have people, families taking pictures in front of your sculpture…

F : Yeah it is really fascinating. So much of our work is temporary in nature and this time it is the city that is changing around our work.

FC : What are your plans after this trip?

F : We will go back to New York and gear up for an exhibition that we are doing with the New York City Ballet in February, along with working towards future exhibitions.

More art by Faile :

Street art by the new york artist Faile

The new york based artist Faile's last artworks

More on FatCap Live!

Share on: Twitter | Instapaper


Where is it?