Art in Exile: Dislocation and Disruption in the Work of Mona Hatoum Open Access

Khan, Amina Sarah (2017)

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This thesis considers the work of Lebanese-born, Palestinian artist, Mona Hatoum who, in 1975, was displaced from her home in Beirut to London. Throughout Hatoum's career, her work has been viewed as an indication of her experience of exile, and yet, these biographical readings fail to adequately account for the ways in which her subjective experience informs the nuanced commentary Hatoum offers on the political and social structures in the Western countries she has lived in during the last twenty-five years. While scholars have considered the how Hatoum's work suggests her experience of exile and how her work is disruptive, especially in its engagement of art historical tradition, there has been no commentary on how Hatoum engages her subjectivity in its delivery of political meaning.

With attention to two works in Hatoum's work, one of her earliest performances, Under Siege (1982) and one of her most recent installations, Impenetrable (2009), I consider how each of these works alludes to Hatoum's personal history while commenting on Western institutions and systems of power. By tracking the ways in which Hatoum's practice changes and matures between Under Siege and Impenetrable, it is possible to discern how the Hatoum's experience of exile and the disruption and dislocation it produced has informed her artistic disruption of Western art history and, ultimately, the imperialist, masculine subjectivity that undergirds it.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Chapter 1: Literature Review
  3. Chapter 2: Performing Exile in Under Siege
  4. Chapter 3: Exile and Objecthood in Impenetrable
  5. Conclusion

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