mina hassett


Exhibition open to the public on
Fridays 2-7pm,
Saturdays 9am-noon
18th May - 6th July 2002
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Keppel Street,
London WC1E 7HT

Mina Hassett was born in Iran, has lived in the US and Spain, India and the UK, so the notion of change, and a lack of fixedness in things, is very real for her. At the core of Hassett’s work is the idea of transformation, which finds a positive aspect, in growth and transcendence, and a negative aspect in decay and decline. But transformation and change are as inevitable as being. She goes beyond the ordinary ways of seeing to try to capture the potential in ordinary objects of being something else. By fragmenting objects and isolating parts she looks into them for a new sense of identity; a kind of freedom. She is attracted to transparency, by which we can escape the claustrophobic division between one thing and another, as the object itself becomes a window on other things.

In this instance, Hassett focuses on an aspect of transformation that is quite negative: environmental pollution and how humans transform their environment in ways that harm themselves. The works presented show the connections and transformations between the traditional elements of earth, water, fire and air; how human activity links them and how they react back on human beings. The faces of her sculptures show suffering and frustration. The melting bodies represent an attack on the integrity of our bodies by air, soil and water pollution. Their translucence suggests vulnerability.

She learnt about soil pollution from Dr. M. Vrijheid of LSHTM, whose research shows high levels of genetic abnormality in populations living near toxic waste sites. The photograph shows a controversial power plant in Deptford, where waste is burned instead of buried. It avoids soil pollution but discharges into the air, and has been accused of spreading poisonous dioxins across the country. The final photograph uses the transparency of water as a metaphor for the fleeting fragility of life.

last updated 27.11.02 | site designed and maintained by Adrian Cousins