Quiet and subtle in its implications, Mona Hatoum’s + and − in part reflects the artist's identity as a British resident of Palestinian descent. Hatoum’s family left Haifa, Israel, in 1948 during the Arab-Israeli War and settled in Beirut, Lebanon, where she was born in 1952. The Lebanese Civil War broke out while Hatoum was visiting London in 1975, preventing her from returning home.
The sculpture's rotating arm simultaneously marks and smooths the surface of a disk of sand. The work serves as an affecting metaphor for the eternal sands of time, the cyclical nature of historical events, and the beauty and horror of a life fully lived.
Label from DECADE: Contemporary Collecting 2002–2012, August 21, 2012–January 6, 2013