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Mona Hatoum, Suspended (2011).

Mona Hatoum, Suspended, detail (2011).

Mona Hatoum, Suspended, detail (2011).

Video: Hatoum talking about Suspended, and about the mo>va>ons behind her work in general.

Current Disturbance, 1996, 280 x 550 x 504 cm x 35 cm, wood, wire mesh, light bulbs
This work was rst shown at the Wa3s Centre for Contemporary Art (at the California College of the
Arts, San Francisco). In 1996 Hatoum was invited to be the resident ar>st of the Capp Street Project,
an ar>st residency sponsored by the CCA. Current Disturbance was the work she created during her
residency. Read the PDF (cri>que of Current Disturbance) by Program Director, Mary Ceru> (page 8).

Video: Current Disturbance, 1996, 280 x 550 x 504 cm x 35 cm, wood, wire mesh, light

Link to Video: hAp://

Current Disturbance is a room-lling environment made from stacked wire cages, light bulbs and
the amplied sound of electric currents. As the bulbs light up and fade out at irregular intervals,
they sporadically illuminate the surrounding room and the unruly mass of wiring covering the
This installa>on by renowned Bri>sh-Pales>nian ar>st Mona Hatoum, whose ambi>ous work in
sculpture and video is rooted in her early performances, emanates a pervasive sense of threat as
much as it generates an alluring spectacle
Combining references to the body and abstract art, Hatoums installa>on creates an uneasy sense
of threat that provides an open-ended commentary on the state of the world today.


Wa3s Centre for Contemporary Art Program Director, Mary Ceru>, on the subject of Current

Mona Hatoum, Light Sentence (1992).

Mona Hatoum, Light Sentence (1992).

Mona Hatoum, 1952, Beirut
Steel and nylon monolament
118 1/8 x 118 1/8 x 118 1/8 inches (300 x
300 x 300 cm)
edi>on 3/3


From a distance, Impenetrable appears to be an ethereal cube levita>ng in the gallery. When approached, the
work reveals a menacing aspect: the cube is composed of hundreds of barbed wire rods dangling from shing
wire. Like many of Mona Hatoums installa>ons since the early 1990s, Impenetrable takes the form of a grid. Yet
the austere geometric form, which recalls Minimalist sculpture, also harbors a psychological charge. The steel
lancework appears to be as delicate as it is threatening, and the barbed wire evokes architectural forms
fences, prisons, campsdesigned both to conne and repel. Such images are evoca>ve of conict, violence, and
state authority, and Hatoums work is open discussed in rela>on to her own experience as a Pales>nian exile.
S>ll, the ar>st herself suggests that the signicance of her work extends beyond biographical references: I nd it
more exci>ng when a work reverberates with several meanings and paradoxes and contradic>ons.
The human body remains an axial thread throughout Hatoums ar>s>c prac>ce, though the late 80s marked a
departure from the usage of her own body to the construc>on of phenomenological situa>ons for the viewer, as
in Impenetrable. In a turn of dark humor not uncommon in Hatoums work, the >tle refers directly to the open
brilliantly colored, monochroma>c cubes of Venezuelan kine>c ar>st Jess Rafael Sotos Penetrables (196797)
that are composed of masses of hanging plas>c cords into which spectators are welcome to enter. In contrast to
Sotos exuberant blurring of the sta>c and dynamic, the interior and exterior, Hatoum erects an impasse, a cube
of space par>>oned by wire, which spectators may view but never penetrate.
Lauren Hinkson
1. Mona Hatoum quoted in Michael Archer, Mona Hatoum (London: Phaidon Press Limited, 1997), p. 25.


Mona Hatoum, Impenetrable (2009), work from a series of installa>ons, called Interior
Landscapes, at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, 2009.

Video: Interior Landscapes, at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, 2009.

Grater Divide, 204 x 35 cm, mild steel, 2002

Change somethings scale and you might change its essence. Hatoum was an exile from Lebanon
during its bloody, 15-year civil war. This experience gave her a dis>nct perspec>ve on what
happens when the familiar changes or disappears. Here, just by making it bigger, she transforms a
kitchen utensil into something sinistera screen for hiding and dividing.


Ar>cle from The Guardian newspaper, London


Text fro Exhibi>on at White Cube Gallery, which regularly shows Hatoums work.


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