Tate Modern presents the first UK survey of the work of Mona Hatoum in an exhibition that explores 35 years of the artist’s ideas over a range of media. The exhibition presents around 100 works from the artist ranging from the 1980s to the present day which includes early performances and video, sculpture, installation, photography and works on paper.
Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut in 1952 to a Palestinian family, in 1975 she decided to settle in England after war broke out in Lebanon. She began her career in the 1980s with mainly performance and video works which includes Roadworks 1985 in which she walked barefoot through the streets of Brixton with a pair of Doc Marten boots tied to her ankles.
It is this sense of surrealism that inform many of the large-scale installations and sculptures in the exhibition, Corps étranger 1994, is a endoscopic journey through the interior and exterior landscape of the artist’s own body. Barriers real and imagined are often the theme of her installations Impenetrable 2009 is a suspended square formed of hundreds of delicate rods of suspended barbed wire, and Light Sentence 1992 features walls of industrial wire mesh lockers that are illuminated by a single moving lightbulb that creates shadows that transform the room into an unsettling space.
Another work that plays with familiar items is Homebound 2000 which changes a domestic scene into something much more sinister with household furniture connected by electric wire, through which runs an audible electric current.
Some of Hatoum’s work is influenced by her own background, Twelve Windows 2012-13, comprising twelve pieces of embroidery made by Palestinian women living in refugee camps in Lebanon, the embroidered ‘windows’ are suspended on crisscrossing steel cables. On a balcony is located Jardin Suspendu, a wall of sand bags with a few plants sprouting from between the bags.
One of the most dramatic installations is Hot Spot 2013 which features a red globe with the outlines of the continents lit up by neon light, in the same room is Quarters which consists of metal bunk beds arranged in particular pattern. Underlying many of the works is the idea of opposites , + and – is a kinetic work which has a motorised arms that creates and destroys circular lines in the sand.
Whilst Mona Hatoum may be relatively unknown to many people, her work is in major collections around the world and she has shown at the Venice Biennale (1995 and 2005) and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1995. This exhibition highlights her particular talent to produce work that has a strong and striking presence which then elicits a number of responses. Hatoum explores the fine lines between the familiar and the unsettling, often domestic settings become hostile environments and shadows cast in a number of patterns add to the sense of foreboding.
This intriguing exhibition at Tate Modern will introduce the work of Mona Hatoum to a much wider audience and allows visitors the opportunity to gain some insight into the work of one of the most challenging artists in the UK today. The exhibition will run from the 4th May to the 21st August 2016.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
Tickets: Adult £16.00 (without donation £14.50). Concession £14.00 (without donation £12.70)
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here
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