Anna Seaman | February 6, 2014
The piece at the centre of Mona Hatoum’s solo show in Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is a collection of clear glass marbles, laid on the floor reflecting the light from many angles. It is called Turbulence and it is so central that it leant its name to the entire show.
But there are so many incredible pieces that it is unfair to focus on just one. From video performance pieces, carefully executed in the 1980s and an entire room filled with giant kitchen implements that thanks to their size and material, turn from something mundane to something menacing, Hatoum’s work is summarised by a constant dichotomy of extremes. Then there are her many works made from fragile material such as glass, hair and even shadow that at the same time as their fragility emit a threatening air, that sums up her enormous talent.
Having exhibited in almost every major institution worldwide and the winner of last year’s Joan Miró prize, Hatoum is one of the Middle East’s most important artists. The exhibition includes almost 80 works spanning across three decades and curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath have collated it in such a seamless way, that Hatoum’s powerful message is really clear.
After the tour of the show, which opens later today with a VIP preview and tomorrow to the public, I took the time to stroll through alone. It was only then that the significance of the video work So Much I Want To Say hit home. As Hatoum’s voice saying that same sentence over and over again permeated the empty gallery space, I realised that she does indeed have so much to say and that in this show, she is finally saying it.
* Mona Hatoum: Turbulence runs from tomorrow until May 18th at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art