The artist's first major solo exhibition spans performance, installation and moving image.
Mona Hatoum focuses on ideas of conflict and confrontation, whether it is collective distress felt in war-torn societies or individual traumas inflicted on human bodies. In her first major solo show in London, Tate Modern presents both performance and moving-image works from the 1980s, as well as the installations of commonplace objects in which she has tended to specialise since.
Of these Light Sentence is a U-shaped configuration of 36 industrial wire lockers to put one in mind of a prison, while a single bulb moving up and down within the dead end casts shadows that compound the sense of incarceration and oppression.
Other striking works include Present Tense, in which she uses tiny red glass beads pressed into blocks of olive-oil soap made in the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern West Bank to trace the outline of Palestinian territories as defined by the Oslo Accord in 1993.
'The implication is that it’s a temporary material. It will dissolve, and with it these borders will disappear', says the artist, who was born into a Palestinian family in Beirut in 1952, but left for London in 1975.