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b. 1952, Lebanon

Mona Hatoum Biography

Born into a Palestinian family in Beirut, Mona Hatoum was forced into exile due to the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war in 1975. She has lived in London ever since. Through her poetic and radical oeuvre, Hatoum explores themes of home and displacement, gender and differences, and exposes the contradictions and conflicts of our world.

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Hatoum started her career in the 1980s making performance and video works. These early works are ostensibly political, often with direct references to the political turmoil in Palestine and her own background. In some performance pieces, she made political statements by putting the vulnerable human body in confrontation with violent institutional power structures. One of the most iconic works from this period is Measures of Distance (1988): a video constructed from intimate images of Hatoum's mother showering. In the video, Hatoum overlaid these images with handwritten Arabic letters from her mother—who was living in Beirut while she was living in London—and Hatoum also reads the letters aloud in English. This autobiographical work speaks of the displacement and tremendous sense of loss that results from the separation caused by war.

Since the late 1980s, Hatoum's practice has shifted increasingly towards large-scale installations and sculptures that aim to engage the viewer in conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion, fear and fascination. She has created a number of works by transforming everyday domestic objects into things with uncanny and threatening qualities. Metal grid structures, geometrical forms and wires are repeatedly used as motifs to recall a sense of oppression and containment brought about by systems of control within a society.

Hatoum has participated in numerous important prizes and events, including the Turner Prize (1995), the Venice Biennale (1995, 2005 and 2013), documenta11 and documenta14 (2002 and 2017), the Biennale of Sydney (2006), the Istanbul Biennial (1995 and 2011), the Sharjah Biennial (2007) and the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2013). In 2015, a major retrospective of Hatoum's work was organised and presented by the Centre Pompidou, Paris. This retrospective also travelled to Tate Modern, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki.

Sophia Bingqin Cao | Ocula | 2017

Exhibition view: Observations, West Bund x Centre Pompidou, Shanghai (8 November 2019–30 May 2020). Courtesy West Bund x Centre Pompidou.

Mona Hatoum Featured Artworks

No way IV by Mona Hatoum contemporary artwork
Mona HatoumNo way IV, 2013Stainless steel
7.7 x 29 x 22.3 cm
Galerie Chantal Crousel Contact Gallery
Orbital II by Mona Hatoum contemporary artwork
Mona HatoumOrbital II, 2018Concrete and steel reinforcement bars
140 x 140 x 140 cm
Galerie Chantal Crousel Contact Gallery

Mona Hatoum Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Observations at Centre Pompidou x West Bund Shanghai, Shanghai
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8 November 2019–30 August 2020 Group Exhibition Observations Centre Pompidou x West Bund ShanghaiShanghai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Basel & Paris at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
Closed
13–26 June 2020 Group Exhibition Basel & Paris Galerie Chantal CrouselParis
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Scènes dans une bulle de cristal — Seen in a crystal ball at Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
Closed
25 January–29 February 2020 Group Exhibition Scènes dans une bulle de cristal — Seen in a crystal ball Galerie Chantal CrouselParis

Mona Hatoum Represented By

Mona Hatoum In Ocula Magazine

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Ocula Conversation Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo By Stephanie Bailey, Turin

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Guarene and Turin, together with the Madrid Fundación, are creating a new constellation; mapping out a new geography that concretely embodies an idea of Europe based on reciprocity—between places, communities, fields of knowledge and cultures.

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Bob Rennie Ocula Conversation Bob Rennie By Anna Dickie, Hong Kong

In Vancouver's Chinatown, an area wedged between the gleaming office towers of the city's affluent West End and the city’s poorest neighbourhood, Downtown Eastside, is a gallery showcasing work from one of the world’s leading private collections. Housed in a restored iteration of Chinatown’s oldest building, the...

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Jens Faurschou Ocula Conversation Jens Faurschou By Anna Dickie, New York

Instead of opening a gallery in New York where we would be just another gallery, I thought: let’s do it in Beijing where we can make a difference.

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Mona Hatoum In Related Press

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The Must-See Exhibitions in Paris During FIAC Related Press The Must-See Exhibitions in Paris During FIAC 16 October 2019, Frieze Magazine

Known for her politically charged works that explore themes like exile, mass-migration and displacement, British-Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum is experiencing renewed and timely interest today, particularly since her remarkable show at the Tate Modern in 2016.

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Mona Hatoum’s Psychological Surgery Related Press Mona Hatoum’s Psychological Surgery 9 August 2018, Hyperallergic

ST. LOUIS — A floating cube of barbed wire. A circle of sand combed by steel teeth. A food mill with a shredder scaled to the size of a human body. In Mona Hatoum’s Terra Infirma, on view at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation through August 11, form colludes with a violent function; the domestic menaces, materiality imperils. From a glass bassinet...

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The Exquisite Torture of Mona Hatoum’s Heavy Metal Sculptures Related Press The Exquisite Torture of Mona Hatoum’s Heavy Metal Sculptures 16 May 2018, Frieze

Had her family not fled Lebanon during the country's civil war in the 1970s for the relative safety of London, Mona Hatoum might have become a designer of exquisite torture devices for the Mukhabarat, or secret police, based on the evidence of the 30 sculptures and installations on view in Terra Infirma, her exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts...

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London exhibitions: black rights on both sides of the Atlantic and Middle Eastern spaceship diners Related Press London exhibitions: black rights on both sides of the Atlantic and Middle Eastern spaceship diners 1 September 2017, The Art Newspaper

What a show! Each section and, indeed, pretty much each individual in this rich but rigorous celebration of black artists working in the US in the 1960s and 1970s, could spin off into a separate exhibition in its own right. The various responses to the black civil rights movement and what it meant to be a black artist in this turbulent time range...

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