You've got to have guts to be an artist. MONA HATOUM should know; her Edinburgh Festival show puts them on display. \‘iords Susanna Beaumont
It's the u". "‘ate " human surve" ante and, ‘o' tt‘at matter, nave-gazwg A ‘ew years bac-c, the art'st lvlo"a I-Iatc);."‘ swa oweu an e"doscoo< can‘e'a It "(’QOIIdiOd her ep'glottts, trave‘eu (iota/n her throat and sank Into her stomach In a t'urther journey, a camera seu an to her 'ntestrnes and anot"er voyage took 'n her cerle. O" ‘rce to or “ce, the camera soent twenty ""r‘..tes exp-or ng her annards
Ann t's a" ext)1()rat'c)" t"at Hatoum maoe but) ( Acco'r‘oat‘ed by a cacopi‘o"y o‘ bat)o"v‘g body "0 ses, gurgles and suuelct‘es, her hood and guts are nroecteo onto the "oor ‘or the v'deo niece Corps etranger. Spectators peer Into a santy abyss, to reirsr‘ Vitua human body travel. For the more 'rnagrnary, ‘t co;:'d corytrre up a VIS'O" o‘ a he'7'sh, abym‘tt‘ "e underworld.
Mind you, In. Mona Hatount's wond, everything 38 not always as Ii seems. In another work, thousands ot carefully arranged prns masouerade as a thtc’K-p'le carpet. Step on that and you wou’d soon clzck that 't was no wool-m'x. Seduct'on (3"(1 menace are close assoclates I" Hatourn's work, as are the resoonses ot Intrigue and recoﬂ.
‘I .rke the Idea of Juxtaposrng the really beautrt'ul and a sense of the threatenrng,’ says HatOUIY‘. ‘In Corps etranger there 's a drearn-Ince t'lurdrty and then 't hrts you ;n the stomach.’
A Palestznran born In Lebanon, Hatoum has Irved In Br'tarn since 1975. A tOrerunner ot the mOdld-"y,[)(?(l beast, the Young Br'tzsh Artist, Hatoum notched up cred points With her appearance n the art not (ouster, Sensation, whrle her muscle as a serous a". st worth ser'ous attention. has long bee" ‘ exen on the Internatronal art CIrCLl'I.
Much of her work ts guret'y charged w:th a sense of displacement and Imprisonment. It was due to the owl war In Lebanon :n the 70s that HatOum was unable to return home. In Light Sentence, rows of \Nlle rnesh lockers are zIIumrnated by a single light bulb. The starkness nzts, as does the 'mpl:cat'on ot’ a silenced terror.
Hatou'n also operates on. the 'l the idea OOmest'c tront. A long-trme hunter- of juxtaposing
gatherer 0" the everyday fall-out of the human body, Hatoum collects
her hairs, nar? panngs and flakes 0‘ beautifUI aI‘Id a
skin She teases at conventons 0‘
reaction: excerpts from Mona Hatoum's Corps etranger
drsgust and toys wrth repulsion A harr necklace 's placed :n. a Cartier Jewellery box: a true coi‘rsron of
sense of the threatening. Mona Hatoum
desirability and the commonplace.
‘It was playing on the sacred and the profane,’ she says. ‘Ha'r, part:Cu'arIy for women, 's seen. as decorat've, but when 't’s oil the body, :t’s seen as a really horrible matenai.’
In another plece, Jardin Public, the seat of an elegant, wrought-Iron charr boasts a tufty triangle of furrrness. It’s HatOum’s pubic hazr. A clever update of Surrealism: Duchamp may have given Mona L:sa a moustache, but I toolc Mona HatOum to g've a charr realpubes
Mona Hatoum is at the National Gallery Of Modern Art, Sat 1 Aug-Sun 25 Oct. On Sat 1 Aug at 12.45pm she will give a talk on her work.
14 THE “ST 23 Jul-6 Aug I998