From daylight enters almost immediately into a dark and narrow spaces. In the middle of the room hangs a lamp that spin round and round. The carved figures in the lamp display subject as easily blurred luminous silhouettes up on the walls of increasing and decreasing size, as a hypnotic and endless motion. Known phenomenon from nursery night light that makes the starry sky and playful fantasy creatures. But here is the friendly creatures replaced by snipers, which lists around and around while alternately raises and lowers the gun. And the stars on the patterned sky is continuing fit, so the quiet static patterns are replaced by sharp and aggressive explosions. Turns Mon eyes off the room boundaries and toward its center cut the sight of flashes of light from the bulb in sharp glimpses of orifices through the lamp pages.
Across a world where we alternately confirm each other in the conviction of our mastery and control over things and lap in us by the media boundless sentimentality has Mona Hatoum through three decades developed a malleable language, which renews the fundamental experience of human alienation in life. The case and the political sting in her art has made her the recipient of many awards, including in 2004 the Sonning Prize, given to men and women in meaningful ways has contributed to the development of European civilization. As the first artist in general. With its trenchant works, she also contributed to numerous exhibitions internationally. Also in Denmark has been able to meet her work on several occasions: eg year 2000 when it was possible to meet her works both in Kunsthallen Nikolai, In Louisiana, the ark, and in Malmo Konsthal.
The exhibition Electrified is her first solo exhibition in Denmark. And, as such an opportunity to experience something of the diversity and variety in her work through the roughly 20 major and minor exhibited works – most of whom have become in the last decade – while some go back to the 1980s. The exhibition spans a range of direct rather different media she has worked: works on paper, performance, video, installation and sculpture. But across the diversity they represent, are the exhibition title Electrified perhaps be called a kind of common denominator for the aesthetic undercurrent that runs across it all.
It is a voltage that is clearly present in the works in the exhibition, entitled Electrified – which is difficult to translate into Danish, but must be something tense or tense – and providing associations with both pleasure and pain. It is an installation consisting of a variety of kitchen utensils in metal hung in tandem using butcher hooks – or meat hooks – to end up in an electric bulb, from the bottom illustrates the bizarre chain, itself a live power cycle connected via an electric wire which passes through a transformer. In the same way as the lamp opens the installation of a gap, a crack into the dangerously lurking just beneath the surface of the familiar and ordinary.
This special danger threatening and pleasurable tension include developed over Mona Hatoum’s artistic treatment of the special circumstances inherent in being the daughter of a palistinensisk families of Lebanese exiles – but shaped in a European artistic contexts since she left in 1975, parents in Beirut and moved to London. Obvious example. in the early masterpiece, the video Measures of Distance. The work is based on photographs and taped conversations between Mona Hatoum and her mother in 1981, and subsequent letters from the mother of Mona Hatoum. You experience the work in a tense state in an attempt to make the most of the meaning of: Scripture in the letters form a lattice over the pictures while reading the letters – in English in a neutral and monotonous voice rent – forming a acoustically grating or filter the Arab dialogue between mother and daughter live with its different rhythms and sounds arising from the dialogue questions and answers, laughter and hesitation. Overlay: between writing and image, between the English read out the letter and the Arab dialogue creates a dense and sometimes impenetrable sense universe, where it becomes impossible at a time to get it all in and create a single coherent view – you are left with a feeling of fragments and fragments torn shared relationships and complaining. This chopping is also a rift in time – a crack or a gap (regulatory) between past and present – and space – between here and there, between Beirut and London. The distance or split at this level is doubled to split on the substantive level: On the basis of dialogue and images unity and intimacy between mother and daughter – told through her mother’s letters addressed to his daughter on a whole variety of fractures, there are also thresholds for self-understanding and wholeness.
Daughter’s experience of her mother as absent in childhood, and her mother’s own experience of family break with the home country, which led to an exiled upbringing in Lebanon The blood that marks her daughter’s traumatic transition to adult life, resonates in the references to the bloody war.
His father’s anger at her mother’s and daughter’s intimate exchanges and daughter photos of her mother’s body as a takeover of his father’s estate, the real and threatening traumatic disruption of future communications, because of bombings in the main street on their way to the post office, which threatens to disrupt the last string between them.
The abstract parameters of distance ultimately be related to exile as living conditions: who skinned – stripped naked, as it is called in English – just the way into the soul of the country, property, identity, pride, who we are.
Work is staging the coordinates of a mapping of distance in time and space that are not rationally measurable units, but by a series of movements through an existential, political and psychological field that also confuses the traditional boundaries between private and public, the known and the strangers, the dangerous and the innocent, the pleasant and terrifying.
Measures of distance also represents the coordinates of a paradoxical stedløshed and homelessness that belong to exile as a fundamental existential conditions. The distinctive look of power absurdity shown by the modified readymade, the Arabic sign hung in different places in Beirut at official buildings, the text literally is Waiting is forbidden – particularly in a culture where waiting – more than games, coffee bars on the corners – is a part of public culture. The signs will typically be positioned in specific locations – but by taking them out of the place-specific context – identifies the location addressed general terms and living conditions – exile from the ring rather than being an exile or a prohibition of life-Mode waiting.
She is also working on other ways of mapping, borders and territories as a theme again and again returns in very different ways: Ready Made Drawings as Globus and cumulus – paptallerkner where traces of the fatty meal has left are drawn up with pen. In såkaldte3-D Cities – where cut patterns in the actual maps will be possible to create various concave and convex shapes – as domes and arenas – where increases and decreases abstract play with the bomb killing and restore buildings in the often bombed cities in the Middle East. Beirut, Baghdad and Kabul. Or as in the work titled Baluchi, which is named after the type attached carpet that was originally constructed and used by nomads from between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Blankets abstract patterns made of tiny nodes are up and the threads pulled out so that what at first glance may look like normal wear on closer consideration shows up as a negative figure, which leaves the contours of the world map as we know it.
Perhaps it is also a product of the exile was stedløshed and basic homelessness is not working with a particular material, but just be shaped by different local crafts and traditions. Not too nostalgic to grow folklore or tradition-bound objects – but just add them an otherness: Misbah – lamps, which were performed for an exhibition in Cairo, draws so in place of traditional lamp designs.
Something similar applies to the work Still Life, a presentation of a series of ceramic objects. Modes are performed after Mona Hatoum’s instructions, by a group of women in a production collective in the village Araq Amir outside Amman in Jordan, working with various crafts – weaving, pottery and paper. The work consists of a series of ceramic forms, which are modeled as interpretations of hand grenades – above all German prototypes – which actually bore names for organic models: the egg, pineapple, lemon, pomegranate – a reference to how a beauty seeking design conceals a deadly , sinister and menacing intention. And also from this very lethal nature brought the fruit back to the organic ceramics. Still Life – arrested lives – or still life – the death of nature – with the French term – get the title of a fatal sound. Sometimes frivolt – as the final work here. Descended from exhibition in Venice last year and performed on the glass factory in Murano. The title – A Bigger Splash – brings to mind the water – like their ancestry in Venice liquid passages – and reproduce a specific image – when something thrown into the water and displaces it to other formations – not unlike the picture of the explosions. Glass plush material, blending the image with a camper humor, which also lies in the title is verbatim quote from the English artist David Hockney, depicting gay community in California, the hedonistic carcasses at swimming pools – politicization and exile – also because of sexual persuasion.
When the plants speak, it is not least because she bemester a precise articulation of the experience of loss and tension – beyond the concrete and personal history – which very directly involving the viewer’s own powerlessness. Impervious – separation between the body and eyes – you can move around the square area of 441 mounted barbed pieces recorder, but you can not move through them without inflicting pain, just look through them only creates fragments and partial correlations between ranks. They take an illusory space – a piece of air at 3 x 3 meters – hung as they are hovering between floor and ceiling – or between heaven and earth.
Puzzled – puzzle – a chopped and fragmented picture – the self image – and broken into pieces and fragments – and spread across new places and surfaces. – Tiles whereas the anthropomorphic through the humanoid pieces – head and shoulders – but suggests while the pieces of a broken and divided whole picture of their suspension also disturbs and displaces the solid feel of the room’s boundaries and creating new openings, lines and gaps in houses – as a body somewhere. As in the title puns on the word Puzzled – which means confused, upset or disoriented – offers pieces not a specific image but restores the general experience of fragmentation and vulnerability.
By Birgitte Anderberg