Artist: Mona Hatoum
Condensed Biography: works in performance, video, installation and sculpture dealing with issues of culture and identity.
Location: born Beirut, Lebanon; lives London, United Kingdom
Artwork: Corps étranger (1994)
Genre: installation, video
Description: The artwork consists of a cylindrical white enclosure with two openings through which the viewer may enter to stand over a large circular video projection of a medical scan of the interior of the artist’s body. Penetrating into a variety of orifices, the scanner takes the viewer on a dizzying ride along the channels of digestion, reproduction and defecation, through opening and closing valves where liquids gush and swirl, while the body’s breathing is manifest through a whistling sound that changes character depending on where the pulse has been taken.
“Corps étranger disturbs the equation of ‘appearance’ and ‘identity’ that has long supported the mode of exchange characterizing capitalism, pancapitalism, and their corollaries (racism, colonialism, imperialism and sexism).
…Corps étranger literally turns the normative, objectifying ‘male gaze’ identified by feminist theory inside out…
…Hatoum highlights the invasive tendencies of medical technologies, graphically displaying their ‘ultimate violation of the human body’ under our feet, producing an environment that is claustrophobic and sensuous at the same time.”
Amelia Jones, Tracey Warr “The Artist’s Body”, Phaidon Press, New York 2006.
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