Shannon Bool: The Shape of Obus
Shannon Bool’s recent practice takes on many forms, including tapestries, silk paintings, collages, sculptures and photograms. All gravitate around a central theme: a critique of modernism through unconventional material processes, combined with her own interpretation of psychoanalytical concepts. By examining the flip side of modernist currents, the artist reveals repressed aesthetic influences in both visual art and architecture.
The role of architecture in controlling both bodies and behaviour is at the core of Bool’s approach, which identifies objectifying strategies used in interior design, specifically in the arrangement of niches, alcoves and sightlines within domestic spaces. This is apparent in her tapestries investigating viewpoints in the architecture of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, and her recent works of embroidered floor plans by Adolf Loos and Carlo Molino. In other tapestries and photograms, she complicates Le Corbusier’s Plan Obus, aimed at transforming Algiers into a modern imperial capital, by revealing its underlying phantasmal character. Using superimposition, she connects his architectural drawings with his erotic drawings and orientalist postcards largely circulated at the time, suggesting that one could have informed the other. Finally, her silk paintings confound our expectations by mixing ideas of softness and sensuality with the rigidity and flatness of the modernist grid, reminiscent of architectural façades.
Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre
Curator of Contemporary Art, Musée d’art de Joliette
This exhibition is produced by the Musée d’art de Joliette. Iterations of this project initiated by the Musée d’art de Joliette have been presented by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the Kunstverein Braunschweig in Braunschweig. We thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their support.