Press Release

Mona Hatoum

Tate Britain  Duveen Galleries
24 March – 9 July 2000

An exhibition of new work by Mona Hatoum will go on view at Tate Britain in the Duveen Galleries on 24 March 2000. This will be her first major solo show in London and is the first in a new series of sculpture displays by British artists in the Duveen Galleries. The series highlights Tate Britain’s strong commitment to contemporary art and artists.

Responding to the architecture of the galleries, Hatoum has created large scale works which reflect her current interest in everyday objects. These sculptures, focusing on household objects, emphasise and yet undermine their character as aids to domestic comfort and efficiency. Mouli-Julienne (x 21) is based on the French kitchen device for slicing or shredding vegetables, but is dramatically enlarged. The threatening scale of this piece reinforces the intensity of the object, where the shredding drum is intentionally large enough to accommodate a human body. The artist’s transformation of this and other domestic tools renders them beautiful, yet malevolent. Another new work uses domestic furniture and kitchen implements but the additional element of live electrical currents running through the objects makes them sinister.

The confrontational themes that Hatoum focuses on, such as violence and oppression, often make powerful reference to the human body, its vulnerability and resilience. Through the juxtaposition of opposites such as beauty and horror, Hatoum aims to engage the viewer in conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion, fear and fascination.

Mona Hatoum was born a British citizen, to Palestinian parents, in Beirut in 1952. She settled in London in 1975 after civil war broke out in Lebanon while she was on a visit to Britain. After studying at the Byam Shaw and Slade Schools of art, she first became known in the early 1980s for a series of performance and video pieces which focused with great intensity on the body. Towards the end of that decade her work shifted towards installation and sculpture including the video installation Corps étranger 1994 an endoscopic journey through the artist’s body.

Hatoum’s work has been exhibited widely. In 1998 a solo exhibition, initiated by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago toured to The New Museum, New York, MoMA, Oxford, and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Other solo exhibitions include Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1994) and Castello di Rivoli, Turin (1999). Hatoum’s work was included in Rites of Passage, Tate Gallery, London (1995) and in the same year she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

An illustrated catalogue will be available with essays by cultural critic Edward Said and Sheena Wagstaff, Head of Exhibitions and Display, Tate Britain (32pp, £12.99). The exhibition is curated by Sheena Wagstaff with Clarrie Wallis, Programme Curator, Tate Britain.