Mona Hatoum

Being involved essay by Ursula Panhans-Bühler.

The Body and the World essay by Volker Adolphs.

Epiphanies of the Everyday – Materiality and Meaning in Mona Hatoum’s work essay by Nina Zimmer.

Notes on Hair essay by Richard Julin and Elisabeth Millqvist.

Artist at Work – An Annotated Catalogue Raisonné of the Performances by Christophe Heinrich.

Exhibition catalogueISBN 3-7757-1444-8 144 pages, color, illustrated, hard cover. Texts in English/German. Published 2004 by Hatje Cantz Publishers. Price: 300 SEK (approx. 30 EUR)


The work of Mona Hatoum encourages an active engagement on the part of the viewer and invites a simultaneous and layered viewing experience: an intense physical reaction and, subsequently, an unravelling.

Life on the move, away from her home country, has made Mona Hatoum sensitive to issues of power relationships and questions of identity. She was born in Lebanon in 1952, the daughter of Palestinian parents and has been living in London since 1975. In her sculpture, video and installation work she repeatedly addresses the vulnerability of the individual in relation to the violence inherent in institutional power structures. Her primary point of reference is the human body, sometimes using her own body – not only in her performances, but also in her video works and installations.

The relationship between artist and viewer is constantly the subject of reflection in Hatoum’s works. This theme is already present in her early performances, which are the focus of particular attention in this publication. Hatoum’s performances, especially between 1980 and 1988, exhibit a wide repertory of ideas and forms which act as a precursor to her later sculptures and installations. We gradually follow the direction of the path from the ephemeral aspect of the performance work to video and permanent installations. This book is the first to offer a comprehensive catalogue of her performance work.

Since the early 1990s Hatoum has been producing large installations which succeed in arousing in the viewer contradictory feelings of attraction and repulsion, fear and fascination. “Light Sentence”, “Corps étranger”, “Homebound” are some of her most ambitious installations and are included in this exhibition. These key works combine performative and interactive approaches of her early years with a formal language that derives its vocabulary from minimalist sculpture and conceptual art, which is at the same time charged with personal and political content.

Mona Hatoum commits herself totally and literally to her art. Her choice of particular materials is arrived at in relation to the content, and the range of materials she uses would appear to be completely inexhaustible: steel and plastic, textiles and soap, electricity and magnetism, found household utensils and disposable items, glass and rubber… Hatoum thus fashions an artistic language in which familiar everyday commodities are transformed into strange and threatening devices. This survey exhibition of Hatoum’s work takes this diversity into account. (…)

Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue foreword by: Uwe M. Schneede, Christoph Heinrich (Hamburger Kunsthalle), Dieter Ronte, Volker Adolphs (Kunstmuseum Bonn) and David Neuman, Richard Julin (Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall).