Mona Hatoum

° 1952

Born in Beirut (LB), lives in London (GB).

Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut, but her family is of Palestinian origin. In 1975, during a visit to Great Britain, civil war broke out in Lebanon and she was forced into exile in London. She continued her studies there, and by the beginning of the 1980s had acquired fame with performances and video pieces. The human body was her leading motif in these works. Since the 1990s, Mona Hatoum also makes spatial works. Domesticity becomes one of her central themes, as in her famous series of gigantic kitchen appliances, which have viewers stumbling into a sort of nightmarish version of Alice in Wonderland. In Hatoum's hands, everyday objects acquire an alienating, even threatening, character. Is it the threat of war that is being evoked here? Or is Hatoum pointing to the suffocating domestic shackles that girls were forced to submit to in the cultural tradition in which she grew up? Or is it the ambiguous stance of the artist vis-à-vis the sense of security of a ‘home’ that is represented?

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