Using a critical approach, the artist explores the history of art and architecture to reflect on the links between traditions, values and modes of representation. Presented alongside the Bombshells photo-collages series, the Oued Ouchaia and Maison locative Ponsik [Ponsik Rental House] tapestries replicate housing project plans designed for Algiers, with the addition of Le Corbusier’s drawings of women romping together. With their silhouettes covered in motifs from Berber carpets, which Le Corbusier was particularly fond of, these women are literally transformed into decorative objects. The tapestry titled Women in their Apartment transforms a view of Le Corbusier’s 1928 bathroom in the Villa Savoye into a fantasy harem filled with silhouettes of nude women with deconstructed, angular forms. Based on Picasso’s series Les Femmes d’Alger [Women from Algiers], painted between 1954 and 1955, these cubist figures, onto which Bool has superimposed Kim Kardashian’s well-rounded posterior, are a variation of this same theme explored by Delacroix in his painting Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement [Algerian Women in their Apartment] (1834). In this reimagined interior scene, Bool asks: could the fascination held by millions of fans for the American star’s voluptuous form be traced back to a colonial past that has covertly informed our gaze to this day?
Decorative motifs, craft techniques, popular culture, references to bodies and the stimulation of affect are just some of the methods used by the artist to disrupt our interpretation of formalism. By integrating the Other—whether it be the female figure or exotic fetishism—Bool manages to reveal Modernism’s unconscious side. Through her psychoanalytic readings, the themes and spaces she observes become “cases of dissociation” exemplified by the encounter of opposing materials, techniques and concepts, therefore undermining their internal cohesion. The artist’s critical stance reveals the subtexts of images that have held her attention. By thwarting their seductiveness, Bool reveals the density of the messages they convey, even unwittingly.
This exhibition is produced by the Musée d’art de Joliette in partnership with the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Iterations of this project initiated by the Musée d’art de Joliette have been presented by the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, and the Kunstverein Braunschweig in Braunschweig. We thank the Canada Council for the Arts for their support.