A set of colourful and beautifully crafted ceramic pieces is arranged uniformly on top of a table. These alluring and incredibly tactile small objects seem like they are designed to perfectly fit the hand. Upon closer examination, these apparently innocent vessels reveal themselves as being casts of hand grenades: they represent instruments of destruction and mutilation.

This work is quite typical of the way Mona Hatoum formally employs the language of Minimalism to reflect upon the inner or hidden violence in contemporary society. The neutrality of the table—a piece of generic office furniture—also evokes a police exhibit or forensic science. Playing with representation, the artist also seems to refer to the traditional genre of the still life, which often features cut fruit, flowers or dead animals.

MONA HATOUM (Beirut, Líbano, 1952). Still-Life, 2009. Ceramic, wood and steel. 87.5 x 180 x 90 cm.

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