Travelling educates. And a painting trip helps you to refine your own point of view and expose yourself to the criticism of other artists with different artistic influences. In the summer of 2023, I travelled to Mongolia. As part of an artist exchange programme between the Mongolart Gallery and the Akademie for Fine Arts Berlin, I travelled with 12 other artists to Ulan Bator and the Gobi Desert.

Mongolia not only has a lot to offer culturally, but also in terms of landscape: the endless expanses, the nomadic way of life and the Buddhist culture inspire new pictorial ideas and compositions. Painting plein air under the mercilessly burning sun is very physically demanding. The long journeys (eight hours or more between the individual settlements) in an off-road vehicle or minibus also sap your strength. Added to this is the challenge of being inspired by the surroundings without being carried away by stereotypical images: Yurts, herds of animals, sunsets in the desert etc. are a dime a dozen. It is more exciting to transfer the artistic perspective and be inspired by shapes and motifs.

Two artist's books ("Ach So - Bruder Sitz" and "A Day in Mongolia") and a series of watercolours were created during the trip, which were exhibited both in Mongolia and in Germany. "Ach So - Bruder Sitz" is a travel diary. Every single day of travelling was recorded on pages that were already decorated with Mongolian collages. I was inspired by both the existing pictures and the daily events.

Conversations with the drivers and artists were difficult in terms of language, so the tour group often shouted "Ach so (Oh, so)". Much to the delight of the Mongolians, who explained to us that this means "Bruder sitz (brother, sit)" in Mongolian. "A Day in Mongolia" is a well-known painting by B. Sharav (Балдугийн 'Марзан' Шарав), which we were able to admire both in the original and restored form. It shows various scenes from the life of the Mongols in the 20th century. My book is a tribute to this masterpiece.

There was a group exhibition at the Mongolart Gallery in Ulaanbaatar and one in Berlin at the Root Gallery. As part of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Mongolia in 2024, an exhibition of the group's works is planned at the Mongolian Embassy. Initial ideas were discussed with the ambassador and the cultural attaché in September 2023.

It was interesting to note that the Mongolian artists (N. Gunchinsuren, B. Tuvshin and B. Batjin) who accompanied us on the trip painted the landscape very accurately. They are very proud of their country and have enjoyed an artistic education that is very much based on the Russian school and propagates the correct reproduction of the surroundings. The exchange with the artists was very enriching. They really encouraged us to take a closer look and capture the colours better. On the other hand, they found the artistic diversity and clear viewpoint of our European paintings refreshing and surprising.