Between the shining stars, armed soldiers appear ready for battle. The lantern with the cutouts creates both a beautiful and gloomy shadow play in the dark room. The installation is a principal work in ARKEN’s collection, created by the English-Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum. With Misbah, the Arabic word for light or lamp, Hatoum distorts our usual experience of the lantern’s cozy glow and brings into play the contrasts between the decorative stars and the armed soldiers. With an imaginative mode of expression, Hatoum manages to convey a political message. Images of war and destruction are communicated daily in news media, but here they come forward in a new and richly aesthetic way.
Mona Hatoum’s artwork is part of ARKEN’s current show Wonderous, which presents works from the museum’s permanent collection. Wonderous relates to the current exhibition Patricia Piccinini – A World of Love. Similar to Piccinini’s chimaeric creatures, the works in Wonderous transform our view of our surroundings and ask unexpected questions of the world as we know it. Art involves much more than what we see at first glance. It can surprise us, shock us and give us new insights.
The exhibiting artists express themselves in various materials, offering nuanced and contrasting perspectives and exploring topical themes such as power structures, changes in nature, digitalization and the role of art in society.
The show gives no definitive answers, but draws us into nuanced, wonderful and puzzling stories that set the scene for contemplation.