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Measure the Distances: A Conversation with Mona Hatoum

by Michela Arfiero

 

Fix It, 2004. Mixed media, 4 x 6 x 10 meters. Photo credit: Nikos Evangelopoulos.

Mona Hatoum defines physical and objective space by altering its reality. Her spaces do not refer to a specific or identifiable situation but allow us to perceive the psychic dimension within an environment. Confronting the conflicts and contradictions within power relationships, her sculpture deals with confinement, uncertainty, and fear—even the most ordinary everyday objects and situations display an undercurrent of threat and danger. Hatoum seems to search for the distance within things, as if through separation the signified could be intensified, transforming objects into archetypes.

Hatoum was born in Beirut in 1952 and lives and works in London and Berlin. Her work has been exhibited in numerous major institutions around the world, including solo exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1994; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, 1997; and Tate Britain, London, 2000. She also participated in Documenta XI in 2002, the Venice Biennale in 2005, and the 2006 Biennale of Sydney.

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