Critics’ Picks

Jardin suspendu (Hanging Garden), 2008, burlap sacks, earth, and grass, 4' 3 1-2“ x 2' 11 1-2” x 10 ' 4".

Jardin suspendu (Hanging Garden), 2008, burlap sacks, earth, and grass, 4' 3 1-2“ x 2' 11 1-2” x 10 ' 4".

Paris

Mona Hatoum

Galerie Chantal Crousel
10 rue Charlot
January 25–March 1, 2008

For her first solo exhibition in Paris in thirteen years, Mona Hatoum presents a powerful selection of new and recent sculptural, kinetic, and paper-based work, firmly locking the viewer into a state of enraptured paralysis as she incites concurrent feelings of enchantment and disturbance. Hatoum immediately establishes an acute level of tension with the installation Nature morte aux grenades (Still Life with Grenades), 2006–2007, just inside the gallery entrance. Covering a morgue gurney, an icy cold steel-and-rubber contraption, with a colorful collection of crystal blown into the shape of grenades, Hatoum deploys an arsenal of objects equally seductive and fatal. In Untitled (box grater), 2008, one of a series of wax-paper “rubbings,” Hatoum recalls her ominous sculptural works based on precarious kitchen utensils, such as Grater Divide, 2002. This time leaving the box grater (as well as a tea strainer and an Indian colander) at a normal scale, Hatoum has wrapped the objects in thin, greasy paper and pushed an imprint of their surfaces into the delicate material. Elsewhere, Hatoum continues to play with perceptions of surface and puncture in her kinetic cutout lantern, Misbah, 2006–2007. Suspended and spinning in a darkened room, the lantern projects a dizzying pattern of eight-pointed stars and armed militants. Continuing to implicate the viewer physically, Hatoum’s Jardin suspendu (Hanging Garden), 2008, sprouting in early January, is one of the newest works on display. A stack of burlap sacks filled with earth and seeds and emitting a warm, terrestrial odor, the freestanding sculpture evokes foxholes and barricades as well as gardens and farming—opposites perched on either side of the unavoidable precipice between life and death.