About Wolf Within
In October of 2012, New York artists FAILE unveiled their sculpture Wolf Within at the site of the National Garden Park in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The figure, a man cloaked in a wolf pelt, tearing away the remnants of a two-piece suit in revelation—is a familiar one for those acquainted with FAILE’s work. Wolf Within was conceived on the brink of the 2008 financial crisis for a series of paintings that fused a decadent capitalist landscape with a lost but resurgent past. Images of native warriors set amidst gleaming skyscrapers opened the question of what we lose and gain in our pursuit of ever-greater wealth and figured the dangers of our entrenched political and economic systems.
The meaning of the work
For Western audiences, Wolf Within was a vivid illustration that the bull-market couldn’t last forever, and a world out of balance can only sustain itself for so long. Realized in 2012, in three dimensions, Wolf Within is a timely work for a Mongolian context. The figure’s suit invokes the influx of investors from around the world, and the wolf is, as ever, a potent symbol, a depiction of nature’s ferocious power and a reminder that our environment and traditions cannot be forgotten.
National Garden Park (Үндэсний цэцэрлэгт хүрээлэн), Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Tel: +976 9910 5995
Official site: www.ubpark.mn
The local sculptor and craftsman Batmunkh was invited to realize a concept created by FAILE and added his personal interpretation to their sculpture. Wolf Within embodies the similarity of the challenges faced by fast-modernizing places worldwide. It also calls to mind the incredible changes Mongolia now faces as a mineral-rich and quickly urbanizing country. After all, Ulaanbaatar’s fortunes, Mongolia’s capital, have increased as steadily as the mining of gold, copper, and uranium from sites like Oyu Tolgoi, shaking up a historically pastoral society. Of course, the consequences of this change are unknown, but Wolf Within is a reminder of nature’s strength and its ambivalent dance with big money.