Grater Divide: a Sculpture by Mona Hatoum

Topics: Violence, Domestic violence, Change Pages: 2 (566 words) Published: April 28, 2012
“Grater Divide (2002)” is a sculpture created by Mona Hatoum that is currently exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. The sculpture is made of mild steel and is 203.8cm x 304.8cm and is in the shape of a room divider. However when one takes a closer look it is obvious that the separate panels are meant to represent an oversized cheese grater. The physical familiarity of the sculpture is not comforting to the viewer but instead unsettling. (Hatoum 1998) This sense of alienation that the viewer feels when looking at the object is most prevalent when looking at the holes in the panels where large metal shards are sticking out. The sense of privacy that the room divider would have created has been abrasively interrupted. Furthermore the idea of the cheese grater is violently transformed into a dangerous object through the change of scale. (Mikdadi n.d.) These uncanny associations that this sculpture exudes is a commentary on the domestic sphere. Both the room divider and the cheese grater are both objects that are related to the domestic sphere. The room divider has often been depicted as a means of privacy in the domestic space, usually the bedroom. Sometimes women would change their clothes behind these tri-fold room dividers. The cheese grater was often used in the kitchen, a space dominated by the woman. By combining these two objects into one and changing the scale greatly, the object becomes foreign. However this is not first time someone has changed the meaning of regular household items. In the popular “Semiotics of the Kitchen (1975)” Martha Rosler depicts the uses of various kitchen utensils. Rosler transforms the viewers association to these objects as she begins to put them to violent use. For example when describing the ladle she begins to mimic its use as she smoothly stirs it in the air only to be interrupted by the violent action of abruptly flinging its contents over her shoulder. By using these aggressive actions Martha Rosler address the...

Cited: "Mona Hatoum." BOMB 1998: 54-61. JSTOR. Web. 05 Apr. 2012. .
Mikdadi, Salwa. "The States of Being in Mona Hatoum’s Artwork." Darat Al Funun. Web. 09 Apr. 2012. .
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