Nature morte aux grenades
Mona Hatoum ( Palestinian, 1952 )
Mona Hatoum's works are political and personal in a non-specific manner, making references to displacement, occupation, war, detention, borders, memory, domesticity, and the body in contradictory and unsettling ways. In this sculpture, a steel hospital table holds an assortment of candy-like crystal bulbs fashioned to look like grenades. This transformation of weapons into glossy ornaments almost succeeds in neutralizing their inherent violence, recalling the reshaping of warfare that contributes to its normalization. The hospital table, normally used to hold surgical equipment, evokes carnage and reminds us of the unknowable victims of war. The title is a two-part double entendre; nature morte is the French term for still life painting — typically depicting tables of fruit — but literally translates as "dead nature," while grenades in French is the word for both grenade bombs and pomegranates.
Anna Katherine Brodbeck, ed., TWO X TWO X TWENTY: Two Decades Supporting Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas: Dallas Museum of Art), 2018, 119.
Charles Wylie, Private Universes, 2009.