Nov 01 2017

Mona Hatoum Named Whitechapel Gallery’s 2018 Art Icon

by Julee WJ Chung

Palestinian artist MONA HATOUM is Whitechapel Gallery’s Art Icon of 2018. Photo by Jim Rakete. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris.

Beirut-born Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum has won the annual Art Icon award from Whitechapel Gallery in London.

In her practice, Hatoum uses large-scale works to explore themes of cultural and social displacement that are the consequence of a dangerous and conflicted world. Such is the case with Hot Spot (2006)—a cage-like globe sculpture where red neon lights outline the contours of our countries’ borders—depicting, in the artist’s words, a "world continually caught up in conflict and unrest,” questioning our ideas of boundaries.

The director of Whitechapel Gallery, Iwona Blazwick, said that Hatoum was selected “in recognition of her pioneering work in performance, installation and sculpture; and in raising our awareness of non-Western perspectives.”

Now in its fifth edition, Blazwick said the award aims to recognize “the work of an artist who has made a profound contribution to contemporary art, influencing their own and subsequent generations of artists.” Hatoum will participate in an award ceremony at the gallery on January 29, 2018.

The artist has previously been shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1995, and has participated in international exhibitions including the 46th, 51st and 53rd Venice Biennales in 1995, 2005 and 2009; the 1995 and 2011 iterations of the Istanbul Biennial; and Documenta 14 in Kassel this year.

Previous winners of Whitechapel Gallery’s Art Icon prize include Howard Hodgkin, Richard Long, Joan Jonas and Peter Doig.

Julee WJ Chung is the assistant editor of ArtAsiaPacific.

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