“Mongolia is part of my soul”
Text: Martina Hošková and M. Zisso; Photo: Tomáš Stoupa
Calligraphy is a form of visual art; the word can be translated as “beautiful writing”. It has a long history, and comprises of different styles from all over the world. Calligraphers transform ordinary letters into visually appealing expressions. Mongolian calligraphy emerges as quite distinctive, boasting the unique feature of being one of the few vertical scripts, and the Czech artist, Fux Karachovič, a notable calligrapher of this script, stands out as one of the few non-Mongolian practitioners.
You are Czech, yet you practise the art of Mongolian calligraphy. How did that happen?
I have been studying different scripts for years, and in 2012, during my studies of linguistics, I first came across the art of Mongolian calligraphy. I remember our teacher bringing a thing to his presentation that changed my life – a book with an inscription on its cover in Classic Mongolian script. I knew at that moment that I had to learn it because there wasn’t a more beautiful script in the entire world. Later, I also wrote a thesis comparing Classic Mongolian with the modern Khalkh Mongolian. Mongolia has simply been part of my soul, ever since. I am grateful for being able to perform the art of Mongolian calligraphy, to show my works to Mongolian people at street performances and exhibitions, and especially for being recognised for the quality of my scripts in the country where this art comes from.
What exactly feels so appealing about Mongolian calligraphy?
Let me start with some facts. In 2013, UNESCO acknowledged the significance of Mongolian calligraphy, known as „Mongol Bičig,“ by inscribing it on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This recognition highlights its role in preserving and promoting the cultural identity of the Mongolian people.
There are not many non-Mongolian practitioners. With me though, as I have already explained, it was love at first sight. I have been tinkering with various scripts all my life, starting with Hebrew, later Sanskrit. But the Classic Mongolian struck me the most and it has been this way since 2012. With unique grammar mixed with amazing shapes of its letters, it is both well-structured and dynamic thus enabling the artist to express anything he feels inside.
You became the first foreign artist with a permanent exhibition in the calligraphy center in Kharkhorin, Mongolia, and even earned recognition from the Mongolian president. How do you feel about that?
Erdenesiin Khuree, the center of traditional calligraphy in Kharkhorin, was founded by leading Mongolian calligrapher Tamir Samandbadraa Purev. The opening of the center, planned for 2020, was postponed due to the global pandemic and took place a year later. I was invited to participate in 2022. My main body of work was a golden round satellite disc, within a traditional Mongolian ger. It’s the absolute pinnacle of what I’ve been doing for the last ten years, a confirmation that my skills have improved over the years. Finally, I have become a Mongolian calligrapher, recognised by the top calligraphers in Mongolia.
Your artwork is a blend of traditional and innovative methods. Can you tell us more about what you actually do?
Well, with passion and love, I try to breathe a new vitality into the tradition. I incorporate my own poetry into the texts, use giant brushes, do live performances and body painting, and so on. What I really enjoy with all my heart is doing workshops – custom-made for participants from 6 to 90 years old, and spanning from basic introductory presentations about Mongolia to advanced courses and brushwork. I have exhibited in many exhibitions in the Czech Republic as well as Mongolia, and my pieces have been displayed at the Mongolian Embassy in Prague, which I often cooperate with. I also like performing live in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar for the European Days, under the auspices of the Czech Embassy.
If anyone is interested in more details about what I do, you are welcome to visit my Facebook page, or my webpage at www.fuxcalligraphy.com to get a better picture.