From the MAO archive: Mona Hatoum in 1998

For the fourth in our #MAOarchive series, we take you back to 1998 when Mona Hatoum exhibited at Modern Art Oxford.

Born in Beirut to a Palestinian family, the artist Mona Hatoum has lived in London since 1975. The outbreak of civil war in Lebanon delayed her return from what was meant to be a short visit. She has said this “created a kind of dislocation” which manifests itself in her work.

Challenging the movements of surrealism and minimalism, Hatoum makes work which explores the contradictions of our world.

Mona Hatoum, Light Sentence (1992), installation view at Modern Art Oxford, 1998.

Often using grid forms to reference systems of control within society, Light Sentence consisted of a darkened room containing an enclosure of wire mesh cages in which a single lightbulb was continually lowered and raised.

Mona Hatoum, Corps Étranger (1994), installation view at Modern Art Oxford, 1998. © Modern Art Oxford

For Corps Étranger, Hatoum used an endoscopic camera to navigate the internal and external contours of her body. The video, with the accompanying soundtrack of a recorded human heartbeat, was projected onto the floor of the gallery within a circular walled booth, which visitors entered through two narrow doorways.

Mona Hatoum, No Way III (1996), installation view at Modern Art Oxford, 1998. © Modern Art Oxford

Comical and sinister, No Way III is an upside-down stainless steel kitchen colander, made useless with sharp dowels protruding from each hole. Hatoum turns the familiar on its head, promoting what she has described as “a kind of self-examination and an examination of the power structures that control us: Am I the jailed or the jailer? The oppressed or the oppressor? Or both.”

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