Mona Hatoum
Lebanon, 1952
In the early 1970s, Mona Hatoum began her postsecondary studies at Beirut University College. In 1975 she relocated to Vancouver as a political exile while her family remained in Palestine as refugees. She soon moved to London to continue her education at the Byam Shaw School of Art and later at the Slade School of Art, completing her studies in 1981. Her first works, presented in the early 1980s, were violent performances that focused on existential suffering, grounded in a strong reading of the feminism of the previous generation. In these early pieces the artist pushed her body to its limits. The practice of documenting her works in video format gradually led her to engage more with this medium, and from 1994 on she devoted herself almost exclusively to installation, always informed by the legacy of Minimal and Conceptual Art. In 1995 she was nominated for the Turner Prize for her solo exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the White Cube in London. In 1997 she was represented in Charles Saatchi’s show Sensation at the Royal Academy of Art in London. From that point on, her contribution to postcolonial discourse and installation practices in contemporary art made her a key figure. In 2005 she produced Mobile Home, an important piece that uses household objects connected by a pulley system to visually reconstruct the idea of exile and address the never-resolved issue of national and social identity. It was also at this stage in her career that she began to question the limits of traditional art and shift the scale of familiar objects. Web (2006) is a suspended spider web made of crystal spheres: the intimacy, fragility and aesthetic beauty of the piece contrast with its natural reference, entangling the viewer in a web of representation. Hatoum’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (1995 and 2005) and Documenta 11, Kassel (2002); and has been showcased in solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (1997), the Castello di Rivoli in Turin (1999), and the Tate Britain in London (2000). In 2004 she was awarded the Roswitha Haftmann Prize in Zürich and the Sonning Prize in Copenhagen, and in 2012 she received the Joan Miró Prize. Since 2010 she has been a member of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.
Manuel Segade