This is the largest survey exhibition of the work of Mona Hatoum, and her first one-person exhibition in Germany. In the United States and Great Britain, Hatoum has long been recognized as one of the most important artistic figures of her generation. Born in 1952 to Palestinian parents in Lebanon, Hatoum has lived and worked in London since 1975.
This experience of living ‘elsewhere’, outside her home country, has sensitized Hatoum to the themes of power and identity, which can be seen through her entire oeuvre. In her sculptures, video works and large-scale installations she repeatedly addresses the violence inherent in institutional power structures and, by contrast, the isolation and vulnerability of the individual. Her central point of reference is often the body, sometimes her own body that she employs in her early performance pieces and later video works. Since the beginning of the ’90s her work moved increasingly towards large-scale installation works that aim to engage the viewer in conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion, fear and fascination. Hatoum has developed a language in which familiar, domestic everyday objects like chairs, beds, cots and kitchen utensils are transformed into foreign, threatening and dangerous objects.
Hatoum’s works are analogous to human existence – vividly formulated but at the same time complex and mysterious. As she puts it: “You first experience an artwork physically. I like the work to operate on both sensual and intellectual levels. Meanings, connotations and associations come after the initial physical experience as your imagination, intellect, psyche are fired off by what you’ve seen.”
This first comprehensive presentation of Hatoum’s work in Germany is taking place in the Hamburger Kunsthalle. Around sixty works from American and European collections provide an overview of the artist’s highly varied and imaginative oeuvre. A new site-specific work, conceived by Hatoum for the Hamburger Kunsthalle, is planned for the monumental Domed Hall.
Hatoum’s work has been exhibited widely in Europe, the United States and Canada. In 1997 a survey of her work was organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and toured to The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, MoMA, Oxford and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (1998). Hatoum’s exhibition ‘The Entire World as a Foreign Land’ was the inaugural exhibition for the launch of Tate Britain, London in 2000. Other solo exhibitions include Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1994, Castello di Rivoli, Turin (1999), ‘Domestic Disturbance’, Site Santa Fe and Mass MoCA (2000-2001), and a survey of her work at the Centro de Arte de Salamanca and the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Spain (2002-03). Hatoum is currently artist in residence on the DAAD program in Berlin (Berliner Kunstlerprogramm, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst). Mona Hatoum is the 2004 winner of the prestigious Sonning Prize awarded every two years by the University of Copenhagen.
The exhibition is a collaboration between Hamburger Kunsthalle and Kunstmuseum Bonn. It will be shown in Bonn from 17 June until August 29th, 2004 and in Stockholm, Magasin 3, from 9 September until 19. December 2004. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
Exhibition curator: Dr. Christoph Heinrich
Supported by the British Council and die tageszeitung.
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