Mona Hatoum

Words by Kim Dasom

Paris, Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou has put on a major exhibition of Mona Hatoum’s work from 24 June till 28 September 2015.

Mona Hatoum transforms familiar daily objects into something unfamiliar and threatening. She has made giant wire cages lit by naked flickering bulbs and a 6ft cheese grater that could slice off a hand. She has hung metal whisks, colanders and spatulas from washing lines and sent electricity coursing through them. In several drawings, remnants of her own body such as skin, hair and nails are mixed with hand-made paper pulp to form random patterns and compositions. She has even had a miniature camera inserted into her major orifices, to film her body from the inside. In Hatoum’s work, the overall effect is one of disorientation, discomfort and unease, feelings that have also defined Hatoum’s experience of exile.

There is definitely a political awareness that filters through her work, also with the history of art and with Minimalism, Surrealism and Conceptualism, that reflect her life in London and Berlin as much as her childhood in Beirut. It’s a scope that lifts the work beyond the immediate politics of the Palestinian experience, raising issues about art, power, gender and identity that are both personal and universal. Hatoum deals with issues that should matter to us all.

Mona Hatoum is a renowned figure on today’s international art scene, and some of her works have become icons in the context of global and committed art.