Mona Hatoum is a marvellous artist and this is an exceptional show. She was born in Beirut of Palestinian parents but in 1975 she got stranded in London because war broke out in the Lebanon. Some years later she made the video piece Measures of Distance. It shows the warm and lovely face of her mother in the shower, overlaid by the Arab script of her letters to her daughter. The shapes of the letters are like a barrier between them, almost a curtain of barbed wire.
Themes of conflict and separation run deep, accompanied by her constant sense of our fragility. Look closer at these prettily coloured glass baubles and you see that they are shaped like hand grenades, the handles of a a normal looking metal wheel chair are actually lethal looking knives. She changed the scale of an ordinary kitchen implement, so that it becomes monstrous, an instrument capable of grating human flesh.
The work is tactile, even though you may not want to touch it. The most spectacular work in this show is Map (mobile) in which the shape of the world’s continents are cut from sheet glass and suspended from slender metal rods. It quivers and you catch your breath, you feel catastrophe is imminent.
Mona Hatoum ‘Remains to be Seen’ is at White Cube Bermondsey until 3 November. Not to be missed.