Sous tension, 1999. Mona Hatoum
Mona Hatoum (born 1952 in Beirut, Lebanon) is a video artist and installation artist of Palestinian origin, who lives in London. Hatoum’s poetic and political oeuvre is realised in a diverse and often unconventional range of media, including installations, sculpture, video, photography and works on paper.
Hatoum started her career making visceral video and performance work in the 1980s that focused with great intensity on the body. Since the beginning of the 1990s, her work moved increasingly towards large-scale installations that aim to engage the viewer in conflicting emotions of desire and revulsion, fear and fascination. In her singular sculptures, Hatoum has transformed familiar, every-day, domestic objects such as chairs, cots and kitchen utensils into things foreign, threatening and dangerous. Even the human body is rendered strange in works such as Corps étranger (1994) or Deep Throat (1996), installations that use endoscopic journeys through the interior landscape of the artist’s own body. In Homebound (2000) and Sous Tension (1999) Hatoum uses an assemblage of household furniture wired up with an audibly active electric current – combine a sense of threat with a surrealist sense of humour to create works that draw the viewer in on both an emotive and intellectual level. In smaller sculptures such as Traffic (2004) and Twins (2006) Hatoum uses found materials, rich with patina and laden with personal resonance, to create poetic, beguiling works on an intimate scale.