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Mona Hatoum

Both inspiration and a darkness are dormant but ready within Mona Hatoum Works.

There’s a dangerous power within us all. Can a child really control the weather by stepping on a spider? This fictional sense of power, in other ways, might actually be real. A kid might not really make it rain by accidentally crushing a spider on the sidewalk, but people have power within them to do equally powerful things. Many Mona Hatoum works are those giant rubber feet that come down from outer space just to hear the spiders crunch. Mona Hatoum works have a great deal of power residing inside them. This power could definitely kill a spider. But Mona Hatoum art is not a vicious killer. A Mona Hatoum exhibition is frightening because that murderous possibility is always present, but it never manifests. Mona Hatoum Works tower over the human scale and often exhibit many trap-like features, but have yet to kill anyone. Mona Hatoum shows that this option to exhibit such horrific power on people and perhaps the whole world is very present within everyone.

mona hatoum works

This Contemporary Art is awareness of the self and its capacity to manipulate cultures. A Mona Hatoum exhibition is a note to a prince with a subtle reminder. It is people and institutions that hold the power referenced in Mona Hatoum art that have the capacity to affect cultures. These demonstrations of how powerful people can change the world for better or worse are these polite but bizarre notes to leaders. Mona Hatoum works use viewers’ realization of their power to make cultural connections.

Some Mona Hatoum Works

Anyone will be put in their place by the large Slicer, a sculpture by Mona Hatoum. The varnished steel and plastic of Slicer measures 40.94″ x 46.26″ x 36.61″. When finished in 1999 visitors to the National Galleries Scotland could walk around this oversized kitchen tool. They’d see the smoker’s teeth white plastic of the square base with it’s rounded corners. The viewer’s signal as to what the Mona Hatoum art might be a representation of is the oval shape that is embedded on top of the square. But there is always more to Mona Hatoum works. There are ten long and straight canyons for the ten long straight wires that pierce through them. These wires are encased in a larger metal frame that is hinged at the very bottom of the sculpture. After seeing the metal device that hangs over the plastic part, viewers begin to make out what the Mona Hatoum exhibition is. It is a giant egg slicer poised to do battle with anything smaller than it.

Unfortunately for rainy day spiders, size often has a great affect on power. This example of Mona Hatoum works beats any supersize at any fast food restaurant. Slicer is obviously much greater in proportion to humans or any standard egg slicer. An egg slicer should not be bigger than the operator’s hand nor should it be bigger than a supersize 7-11 drink. This is because puny human beings would find the tool unusable but also offensive. Standing under such an ominous and potentially dangerous sculpture implies that the viewer is small, vulnerable, and maybe worthless. Some onlookers might take offense to such belittling accusations. This sculpture is a delightful mind game. It is of course by manipulation the proportion to the bewildered human that this Mona Hatoum exhibition makes viewers conscious of their size. Mona Hatoum art often plays with relationships of size between people and other objects and concepts. Sizes both big and small can affect one’s role in culture.

People quiver in their boots when they see The Grater Divide Mona Hatoum exhibition made in 2002. People feel inferior behind this example of Mona Hatoum works made from mild steel. The sculpture is very similar to a metal cheese grater, but blown up to 80 inches tall. Three tall black panels make up the work. The accordion shape implies that Mona Hatoum art is a divider. One could use each panel’s various sharp open spaces to slice a giant’s block of cheese. The first panel could be used to finely grade cheese. The center panel could be used to slice. The last one would create thicker strands of cheese… or human flesh. People should feel inferior behind this large mysterious sculpture.

This game is played differently but has the same gruesome twist as Slicer. The warning labels on these sculptures would both read something very similar. The danger of a giant cheese grater is similar to that of a giant egg slicer. Mona Hatoum art on its own is harmless, but a warning label might prevent any reckless human intervention. And, now this human would stand behind the sculpture instead of under the large guillotine. The placement of the viewer in this sculpture has moved from underneath to behind. Frightened participants of Slicer feel like they should rest their head where an egg might otherwise. However, The Great Divide welcomes people to hide behind a wall that is dangerous when touched. These Mona Hatoum Works have the power to literally move people. The suggested danger of these sculptures suggests an awareness of where the viewer is. Viewers are safer in some areas around the sculpture than others and they move accordingly. The game is still about the viewer’s space and is important to this cultural Contemporary Mona Hatoum exhibition.

Cultural Mona Hatoum Art

The last example of a Mona Hatoum art project is even larger but also frail. These maps are other Mona Hatoum works. Map, is a series of larges world maps with a twist. The sculpture requires an entire room for installation. Thousands of clear marbles are installed in the shape of the continents of the world across the floor. Viewers who enter the room where the work is installed would see the color and texture of the floor. But the continents would glow over top of it. The viewer would be standing inside a map. But on closer inspection the viewer would notice the continents were mere marbles ready to roll away. Glass has forsaken the strength and danger of the previous mentioned materials. This Mona Hatoum exhibition is much more fragile than the metal sculptures.

People can only make these cultural connections by standing in the shoes of the giant killer egg slicer. Cookie dough across the lands should be very afraid of Mona Hatoum art. The viewer now has the role of the aggressor in these particular Mona Hatoum works. The human now has the powers of the evil cook again in this scenario. This power is not uncommon in the world outside the gallery. The human viewer can easily manipulate the marbles that represent the continents much like in politics. In contemporary times, people really are strong enough to destroy entire continents made of more than marbles. When the viewer is promoted from victim to killer this cultural truth is made clear.


Art has the power of realization. Art can show people that power doesn’t merely reside within giants. Power is not reserved to politicians or big countries. This cultural commentary is at the root of Mona Hatoum works. But it starts first with the self. It starts with the viewer of the Mona Hatoum exhibition. It starts with you! Mona Hatoum art is about making the viewer aware of their position in the world. It is only then that they have the realization that they have some ability to control that world for better or for worse. Time will tell if these Mona Hatoum works will suceed in their instruction. But it is certainly a skillful and creative technique. Mona Hatoum uses Conceptual Art to create a profound awareness of the self and a relationship with culture.

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Topher is the proud creator and editor of Culture Hog.


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