Mona Hatoum. You Are Still Here, 1994, Etched mirrored glass, metal, 38 x 29 x 0,5 cm, © the artist, Photo: Stephen White, Courtesy White Cube, London.

Mona Hatoum. La Grande Broyeuse (Mouli-Julienne x 17), 1999, Mild steel, Discs each: 5 x diam. 170 cm, 343 x 575 x 263 cm, © the artist, Photo: Wim van Neuten, Courtesy MUHKA, Antwerp, and White Cube, London.

Mona Hatoum Retrospective after Winning the Jóan Miró Prize

Mona Hatoum. Web, 2006, Crystal balls and metal wire, Dimensions variable, © the artist, Photo: Ela Bialkowska, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin.

Mona Hatoum. Suspended, 2011, High presure laminate, metal chains, Variables, © the artist, Photo: Hugo Glendinning, Courtesy White Cube, London.

Mona Hatoum. Coiffure Dame (Kairouan), 2001, C-Print, 28 x 35,5 cm, © the artist, Courtesy White Cube, London.

Mona Hatoum. + and -, 1994-2004, Steel, aluminium, sand and electric motor, Height: 27 x diam. 400 cm, © the artist, Photo: Wolfgang Morell, Courtesy Kunstmuseum Bonn.

Mona Hatoum. Untitled (Graters), 1999, Silver gelatin print, 40,5 x 51 cm, © the artist, Courtesy White Cube, London.

Mona Hatoum. Cube (9 x 9 x 9), 2008, Black finished and powder coated steel, 181 x 182 x 182 cm, © the artist, Photo: Uwe Walter, Courtesy Kunst-Werker, Berlin.


Foundació Joan Miró
Parcde Montjuic
+ 0034 93 32 98 609
Mona Hatoum. Projection
June 22-September 24, 2012

Projection, curated by Martina Millà in close collaboration with Mona Hatoum, is the artist’s first monographic exhibition in Barcelona. It includes nearly 40 pieces from the last 20 years, with a stronger presence of recent work. The aim of the show is to broaden our view of the artist and position her beyond the geopolitical references that have become almost synonymous with her production.

Through this ensemble of installations, videos, sculptures, photographs and works on paper, Projection aims to subtly disrupt the semantic field that we usually identify with Hatoum in order to open up new possibilities, suggest new meanings and offer a new, complex and fresh reading of her universe and her large and varied body of work. The idea is to shed light on an artist who engages in dialogue with modern art movements such as Surrealism, Minimalism, Arte Povera, Body Art and Land Art. The exhibition charts a course through Mona Hatoum’s work based on contrasts between different pieces that reveal and emphasise these relationships.

The first two rooms contain two hanging works: the delicate and lightweight Web, which forms a contrast with Suspended, an installation consisting of 35 swings that have the maps of various major cities carved into their seats, referring to the constant flow of migration around the world.

Hanging garden, in the Olive Tree Courtyard, is a wall built out of sand bags from which grass has sprouted. Reminiscent of Land Art, it nevertheless makes strong reference to the constant conflict that occurs around the world. This work sets up a dialogue with Bunker, which can be seen through the windows: a 'city' of modular, steel sculptures that have been subjected to cutting and burning so that they resemble ruins from some violent conflict or war.

Globe is a large sphere, made from bold iron grid-work reminiscent of medieval prison bars. It has its counterpoint in Cube (9 x 9 x 9), an elegant large-scale cubic sculpture built up from smaller cubes of barbed wire. The structure of the work, with its neat modular gridded formation, creates a dazzling optical effect which counterbalances the aggressive nature of its material.

Every door a wall is a light breezy curtain made from voile and printed with an image of the front page of a newspaper that documents a story about border crossing by illegal immigrants. This work forms the gateway into the next part of the exhibition, which includes sculptures that are based on scaled-up kitchen utensils that become menacing pieces of furniture.

On leaving this section we once again come upon a play of contrasts, this time between the incessant movement of + and –, a giant circular sand pit with a motorised arm that marks and then erases its surface, and the stillness of Turbulence, which consists of a "mat" of glass marbles of various sizes formally arranged into a square.

The exhibition closes with You are still here, a mirror that has those words etched into its surface, a reminder to the visitors of his or her own mortality.

A companion catalogue with a text by Catherine de Zegher and images of the works is presented along with the exhibition.

Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut in 1952 into a Palestinian family, and has lived and worked in London since 1975. Although she had only been planning to visit England, the outbreak of the civil war in Lebanon prevented her from returning to her home country.

After studying at Byam Shaw School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art, Hatoum became widely known in the mid-1980s for a series of performances and videos that clearly focused on the body and her own experiences of exile and alienation. Since the early 1990s, her work has increasingly become geared towards large-scale installations that seek to trigger contradictory emotions such as desire and repulsion, fear and fascination. Hatoum has developed a language in which ordinary household items such as chairs, beds, cradles, and kitchen utensils are often transformed into strange, threatening and sometimes dangerous objects. Even the human body becomes strange in Corps étranger (1994) and Deep Throat (1996), video-installations that take viewers on an endoscopic journey through the inner landscape of her own body.

Mona Hatoum was the recipient of the 2011 Joan Miró Prize, awarded by the Fundació Joan Miró and ”la Caixa” Foundation. The Prize includes a cash award of €70,000, making it one of the richest art prizes in existence. The jury of the 2011 Joan Miró Prize chose Mona Hatoum for her ability to connect her personal experiences with universal values, and her ongoing commitment to human values common to all cultures and societies. Mona Hatoum was one of the first artists to connect arts practices to non-Western realities. In the wake of her pioneering work, the art world has become a much more open and less self-centred place, in a process that continues to expand and grow stronger.

Mona Hatoum has donated the €70,000 prize money to help young artists from around the world to study at the University of the Arts London.

Mona Hatoum, Portrait by Jim Rakete.

Mona Hatoum. Globe, 2007, Mild steel, Diam. 170 cm, © the artist, Photo: Jörg von Bruchhausen, Courtesy Galerie Max Hertzler, Berlin.

Mona Hatoum. Hanging Garden, 2009, Jute bags, earth, grass, 172 x 92 x 785 cm, © the artist, Photo: Jens Ziehe, Courtesy daadgalerie, Berlin.

Mona Hatoum, Twins II, 2006, Mild steel, plastic buttons and fishing wire, Approx. 56 x 86.5 x 42 cm, Photo: Stephen White, Courtesy Jay Jopling/ White Cube (London), © Mona Hatoum 2008.

Mona Hatoum's Present Tense: An Oeuvre in the Moment of Cultures

Mona Hatoum, Undercurrent, 2004, Electric cable, light bulbs, computerised dimmer unit, Diam. 950 cm, Photo credit: Mattias Givell, Courtesy Jay Jopling/ White Cube (London), © Mona Hatoum 2008.

Mona Hatoum, Globe, 2007, Mild steel, Diam. 170 cm, Photo: Ela Bialkowska, Courtesy Galleria Continua, San Gimignano-Beijing and Jay Jopling/ White Cube (London), © Mona Hatoum 2008.

Mona Hatoum, Static, 2006. Steel chair, glass beads and wire 102 x 56 x 70 cm. Installation view, Parasol unit , 2008.


parasol unit
foundation for contemporary art
14 Wharf Road
+ 44 207 490 7373
Present Tense: Mona Hatoum
June 13-August 8, 2008

In the course of her career Hatoum has created work in a variety of media, including performance, sculpture, video, installation and photography. Her work is rooted in notions of displacement, uncertainty and power structures, subjects that are addressed through the use of familiar, everyday domestic objects transformed into foreign, uncanny things. Hatoum’s practice also deals with issues related to the making of art and, in particular, with questions about the inherent physicality of sculpture as well as our relationship to the formal concerns of space and material.

Present Tense, an exhibition by the British Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum presents works as yet unseen in London that cover more than a decade of Hatoum’s career. Including large-scale installations, sculpture and works on paper, this exhibition will illustrate the scope of Hatoum’s varied artistic practice that, through residencies and travels, draws its influence and materials from very different cultures and locales. The works in this show were made in places as diverse as Cairo, Stockholm, Jerusalem, rural France and a shaker community in North America.

The works on show at Parasol unit will include Mobile Home II, 2006, an installation of furniture and household possessions that continually shift along horizontal wires strung between two metal street barriers. In perpetual, barely perceptible animation, the work could be a metaphor for a population

in constant flux and movement resulting in a world where national and social identities are never fixed. References to unrest and violence will also be evident in the installations Horizon, 1998-99 and Misbah, 2006-07 and Round and Round, 2007, all of which play with the forms of toy soldiers with guns poised for action. In Undercurrent, 2004, cloth-covered electrical cables are woven into a two-metre-square carpet fringed with light-bulbs which illuminate and fade with a mesmerising melancholic pulse, hinting at an ever-present threat to stability. Notions of violence will similarly be referenced through a new sculpture, Nature morte aux grenades, 2008, a collection of colourful crystal shapes resembling hand grenades, placed on a steel trolley. The contrast between the bright, confectionary-like colours of the shapes and the subtext of danger highlights the duality of Hatoum’s approach, blurring the distinction between subject and context in a disturbing manner.

Another work on show will be Present Tense, produced during a residency in Jerusalem in 1996. A floor piece, Present Tense is made out of blocks of local olive oil soap with red glass beads imbedded into its surface, delineating the outline of the map of the Oslo Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authorities. Since making this work, Hatoum has frequently used the map as a motif in her work, most recently through a process of material-removal. In both Projection (cotton), 2006 and Baluchi (blue), 2008 the ground appears to have been eroded or dissolved away, leaving a negative space in the form of the "Peters Projection" world map, an image that depicts an accurate distribution of land mass in its true proportions, as opposed to the more common maps drawn from a Western-centric perspective.

Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1952. She came to the UK in 1975, where she remained following the outbreak of civil war in her homeland, studying at Byam Shaw School of Art and Slade School of Art, and now divides her time between London and Berlin. Hatoum’s career has seen solo exhibitions at museums worldwide including Centre Pompidou, Paris (1994); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1997), which toured to the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Oxford and Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Castello di Rivoli, Turin (1999); Tate Britain, London (2000); Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall (2004); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2005); and group exhibitions such as The Turner Prize (1995); Documenta 11, Kassel (2002); Venice Biennale (1995 and 2005) and The Biennale of Sydney (2006). Her work is held in collections across the world including Tate, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; British Council, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art. Hatoum was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1995. In 2004 she was awarded the Roswitha Haftmann Stiftung Prize (Zurich) and became the first visual arts recipient of the prestigious Sonning Prize (Copenhagen).

Mona Hatoum, Chain, 1999, Leather gloves and nylon thread, 450 x 25 x 100 cm, Courtesy Jay Jopling/ White Cube (London), © Mona Hatoum 2008.

Mona Hatoum, Nature morte aux grenades, 2006-2007 (detail), Crystal, mild steel, rubber, 95 x 208 x 70 cm, Photo credit: Marc Domage, Courtesy the artist and Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art, London, © Mona Hatoum 2008.