The Negotiating Table (1983)
The Negotiating Table (1983) (20:00)
Produced in Vancouver at Western Front
by Mona Hatoum
The Negotiating Table is based on the artist’s attention to political events in the Middle East since the invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, and her continued monitoring of Western media reports on the situation during this time. The performance documented in this video consists of two juxtaposed elements: a sound tape of news reports which sound like fiction, played against a depiction of the reality of Lebanon. Alongside the bloody chaos depicted, the detached reportage that attempts to account for it in ordered terms seems absurdly disembodied. The talk of peace plans drawn up around ‘civilized’ conference settings are fantasies on paper while the reality is a barbaric mayhem.
*Digitized from Beta Sp
Mona 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 performancework 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.
Mona Hatoum was born into a Palestinian family in Beirut, Lebanon in 1952 and now lives and works in London and Berlin. She has participated in numerous important group exhibitions including The Turner Prize (1995), Venice Biennale (1995 and 2005), Documenta XI, Kassel, 2002, Biennale of Sydney (2006), the Istanbul Biennial (1995 and 2011) and The Fifth Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2013).
Solo exhibitions include Centre Pompidou, Paris (1994), Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1997), The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1998), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (1999), Tate Britain, London (2000), Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Magasin 3, Stockholm (2004) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2005). Recent exhibitions include Measures of Entanglement, UCCA, Beijing (2009), Interior Landscape, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (2009), Witness, Beirut Art Center, Beirut (2010), Le Grand Monde, Fundaciòn Marcelino Botìn, Santander (2010) and as the winner of the 2011 Joan Miró Prize, she held a solo exhibition at Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona in 2012. In 2013-2014 she was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Kunstmuseum St Gallen and the largest survey of her work to be shown in the Arab world is currently held at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha.