Fundación Botín, Santander, Spain
Through 9 January 201

After her stay at Villa Iris, where she directed the international Fundación Botín workshop in July, the artist Mona Hatoum becomes the central figure of the exhibition Le Grand Monde, which is intended as an intense reflection on the world in which we live.

This artist's work characteristically reflects her personal experience and aims at involving the spectator as much as possible, provoking contradictory sensations of attraction and rejection. Hatoum manipulates household objects and the dimensions and extensions of the human body, using very suggestive materials that have been selected beforehand with considerable sensitivity and emotional connotations. The selection of a total of 30 pieces was carried out in accordance with the curator, Chus Martínez, chief conservator at the MACBA (Barcelona).

This artist's work should be considered within the framework of the sculpture of the latter half of the 20th century. Mona Hatoum began producing performances and later shifted to creating sculptures and large format installations with subtle references to minimalism and conceptual art. In her works, everyday objects are the central features of mental associations and attractive references.

The two pieces, Hot Spot (2006) and Undercurrent (2008), with which this show begins are exemplary of this approach. They are of large dimensions and they occupy the entrance and central courtyard of the lower floor of the Fundación Botín exhibition space in Santander. Hot Spot is a huge globe with all the continents outlined in red neon that make a characteristic buzzing sound. According to the artist, it is a reflection of the fact that confrontation is not restricted to certain parts of the world, but pertains to all of it. Undercurrent is a large net on the floor, also circular in shape, in which there are interwoven electrical wires covered with red fabric and whose ends light up gradually almost like light bulbs.

3D Cities consists of three printed maps of the cities of Beirut, Kabul and Bagdad that have pieces cut out of them, perhaps as a metaphor for bombs and explosions on the urban topographies. Interior/Exterior Landscape, a recent installation previously shown at the Art Center of Beirut (Lebanon) comprises diverse elements related to the realm of biography and domesticity: a bed, a table with a chair embedded in it, a clothes hook or a cage with human hair; in Electrified (2002) a set of hanging kitchen utensils seem harmless but actually lead to electricity and therefore to danger.

Mona Hatoum was born in Beirut in 1952. Her parents had emigrated there from Haifa. In 1975 she left Lebanon to settle in London and there she began her training and career in art, participating in the shows such as the seminal Sensation under the auspices of Charles Saatchi. She currently lives in London and Berlin.

The exhibition Le Grand Monde opened on October 7th and it will be running until January 9th 2011. In addition to the works on display, there is a brief video featuring the artist and the curator, and a virtual tour. Furthermore, this Thursday December 16th the critic Javier Hontoria will present a commented tour of the exhibition at 8:00 in the evening at the Santander venue.

The mission of the Fundación Botin is to contribute to the global development of society. To achieve this, it manages a variety of programmes in education, science, rural development, culture and social work. www.fundacionbotin.org

Fundación Botín
Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola
3. Santander, Spain
Opening hours from 12:00 to 14:00 and from 18:30 to 21:30. Entrance free.

Virtual tour: virtual.fundacionbotin.org/visita_mona/index.html
Image Credits: Mona Hatoum, Undercurrent (red) Cloth covered electric cable, light bulbs and dimmer device; Installation view: Arter, Istanbul, 2012

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