Electrification And Intimidation: The Art Of Mona Hatoum, Reviewed

Mona Hatoum: Tate Modern ★★★☆☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 21 months ago
Electrification And Intimidation: The Art Of Mona Hatoum, Reviewed Mona Hatoum: Tate Modern 3
The world is a dangerous place. Photo: Agostino Osio, Courtesy Fondazione Querini Stampalia Onlus, Venice © Mona Hatoum

Red is the colour of danger, and in Mona Hatoum's globe all countries are aglow in scarlet neon. The world, she is clearly saying, is a dangerous place. Given Hatoum grew up in Lebanon it's not surprising this sense of intimidation and threat is present in much of her work.

We see cages with a single light bulb inside, casting a mesh silhouette across the walls thus making the visitor feel enclosed. This claustrophobia is also present when we get taken inside Hatoum's body using medical probes.

Kitchen utensils are electrified in another installation, and these foreboding works are Hatoum at her best. In fact, if they were the entire exhibition, this would be a sensational show.

However, we are also 'treated' to explorations of the material, video work and photographic evidence of her performance art. These all seem rather lacklustre and they barely held our interest.

If the curators had been brave and limited this exhibition to 15-20 large scale works, the show would have been all the stronger for it. What we are left with is a solid show, weighed down by weaker elements.

Mona Hatoum is on at Tate Modern until 21 August. Tickets are £14.50 for adults, concessions available.

For more art see our most talked about art exhibitions. Still on at Tate Modern is Performing for the Camera and over at Tate Britain is the abysmal Conceptual Art in Britain.

Last Updated 04 May 2016