Mona Hatoum

by Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mona Hatoum’s poetic and political oeuvre is realised in a diverse and often unconventional range of media, including installations, sculpture, video, photography and works on paper.

Hatoum started her career making visceral video and performance work in the 1980s that focused with great intensity on the body. Since the beginning of the 1990s, her work moved increasingly towards large-scale installations that aim to engage the viewer in conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion, fear and fascination. In her singular sculptures, Hatoum has transformed familiar, every-day, domestic objects such as chairs, cots and kitchen utensils into things foreign, threatening and dangerous.

Even the human body is rendered strange in works such as ‘Corps étranger’ (1994) or ‘Deep Throat’ (1996), installations that use endoscopic journeys through the interior landscape of the artist’s own body. In Homebound (2000) and Sous Tension (1999) Hatoum uses an assemblage of household furniture wired up with an audibly active electric current – combine a sense of threat with a surrealist sense of humour to create works that draw the viewer in on both an emotive and intellectual level. In smaller sculptures such as Traffic (2004) and Twins (2006) Hatoum uses found materials, rich with patina and laden with personal resonance, to create poetic, beguiling works on an intimate scale.

Mona Hatoum was born into a Palestinian family in Beirut, Lebanon in 1952 and now lives and works in London and Berlin. She has participated in numerous important group exhibitions including The Turner Prize (1995), Venice Biennale (1995 and 2005), Documenta XI, Kassel, 2002 and Biennale of Sydney (2006). Solo exhibitions include Centre Pompidou, Paris (1994), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1997), The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1998), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (1999), Tate Britain, London (2000), Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Magasin 3, Stockholm (2004) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2005). Recent exhibitions include Measures of Entanglement, UCCA, Beijing (2009), Interior Landscape, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (2009), Witness, Beirut Art Center, Beirut (2010), Le Grand Monde, Fundaciòn Marcelino Botìn, Santander (2010). In 2011 Mona Hatoum was awarded the prestigious Joan Miró Prize.

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