Presented during the evening, the recipient of the 2018 Art Icon accolade was pioneering artist Mona Hatoum. Her destabilizing and charged works have taken many forms, in performance, installation, sculpture, video, photography and paper. What all have in common is a hyper focus on holding a mirror up to the societies and political climates we live in. She burnt a world map onto a swath of heavy black velvet (2013, Projection), turned a lived-in room into a cage (Homebound, 2000), and even scaled a cheese grater into a room divider (2002, Grater Divide).
Gallery director Iwona Blazwick said: “This award celebrates the work of an artist who has made a profound contribution to contemporary art, influencing their own and subsequent generations of artists. Mona Hatoum was chosen in recognition of her pioneering work in performance, installation and sculpture; and in raising our awareness of non-western perspectives”.
This poignant and entirely creative lens is what won Hatoum this year’s Art Icon award. The Palestinian-born, London-based artist follows in the footsteps of other notable Art Icon recipients including Scottish painter Peter Doig, and American visual artist Joan Jonas, as well as Richard Long and Sir Howard Hodgkin.
Co-host and Swarovski Executive Board Member Nadja Swarovski commented: “We are delighted to continue our support of the Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award for the fifth successive year, and to celebrate Mona Hatoum’s incredible cultural impact over her long career. The work of this empowered, defiantly global artist is an inspiration to us all.”
Including the ongoing Whitechapel Gallery partnership, the Swarovski Foundation’s mission is to continue the longstanding company heritage of supporting charitable initiatives and organizations working in areas of culture and creativity. Swarovski is a major patron of design and art, working with cultural institutions such as the Palace of Versailles, London’s V&A Museum, Whitechapel Gallery, and Design Miami/ Basel and Vienna Design Week among others to support their programs.