Mona Hatoum. The Negotiating Table.
by florence cheval
Mona Hatoum, The Negotiating Table, Dec. 3rd, 2011.
Re-performance of Negotiating Table, 1983.
Courtesy: the artist. Photo: Maya Wilsens.
Meeting Points. Contemporary Art Festival from the Arab World.
Locus Agonistes: Practices and Logics of the Civic
Curated by Okwui Enwezor.
Argos Arts Center, Brussels. http://www.meetingpoints.org/
On the 3rd of December 2011, Mona Hatoum reenacted a performance from 1983, The Negotiating Table.
This performance was an explicit response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon that took place in 1982.
Mona Hatoum lay motionless on a table for several hours, blindfolded. She was enclosed in a plastic bag, covered with blood, her feet bound with a rope, carrying entrails stuck to her chest. Some empty chairs. A single light bulb illuminated her. One could hear a flow of news reports of the war and leaders in peace negotiations.
The Western Front — where Hatoum was an artist-in-residence in 1984 — hosted what is considered as her most overtly political performance.
The obvious, sinister meanings are made to stick to the viewer through the visibility/invisibility of the body, showing the live artist and representing the dead.
Mieke Bal, Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History, University of Chicago Press, 2001, p. 138.