I went to see the Mona Hatoum exhibition “Over My Dead Body” at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art on the weekend. I had seen some of her work before, at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art several years ago. This new exhibition includes a lot of material from her performance art pieces — videos and preparatory notes — as well as some of her sculptures and installations. Very interesting stuff, though a lot of her work has an unsettling underlying violence. Particularly the performance where she cuts out her own entrails and serves them up on dinner plates.
The exhibition included the preparatory notes for a piece called “Live Work for the Black Room”, which consisted of the artist, dressed in black in a completely black room, repeatedly falling on the floor, chalking the outline of her body on the floor, and then getting up and lighting a candle in the outline. Much as I like the idea of this piece, the thing that really stuck in my mind from the whole exhibition was this sentence from the notes.
Practise falling on the floor.
It’s a sentence that you can read a lot into and get a lot out of.