The Light at the End

1989
Hatoum, Mona
This installation occupies a triangular space in the gallery. The space is painted the colour of dried blood and is empty, save for a grill fixed to the walls in the furthest corner. This eerie space is illuminated by a single light bulb; its orange glow draws the viewer in. As progress into the tunnel is made, the temperature rises until the heat becomes oppressive: it becomes clear that the grill glows with a dangerous heat that would burn the skin if touched. The title of this work suggests optimism - a pathway through the tunnel of despair - yet the installation cruelly shuts off this possibility and instead leads the viewer into a confined and oppressive space. Hatoum has described how the work concerns 'the idea of imprisonment, of torture, but it is also a seductive image. Once people have adjusted to the dark and watched the bars glow... then they begin to see them as beautiful bands of light. I was interested to explore this feeling of being attracted and repulsed.' Lizzie Wright
  • Artwork Details: variable
  • Edition: 3/3
  • Material description: iron, steel, brass, glass, aluminium and electrical elements
  • Credit line:
  • Theme: Abstract
  • Medium: Installation
  • Accession number: ACC2/1990

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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

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