Shannon Bool’s recent practice takes on many forms, including tapestries, silk paintings, collages, sculptures or photograms, all of which 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.
This exhibition foregrounds Bool’s current research on a series of erotic drawings made by Le Corbusier in Algeria during the 1930s. These coincided with the initial stages of the architect’s urban plan designs aimed at transforming Algiers into a modern imperial capital, thus asserting the French presence in North Africa. With her Bombshell series, Bool detects in the architect’s curved urban designs the direct consequences of his voyeuristic sessions; the sensuality of Moorish bodies, by association and projection, informed his proposals to redesign the city. By literally superimposing the megastructures of the Plan Obus onto the bodies of colonized women posed within Orientalist settings, Bool reveals the violence behind the idea of progress in Le Corbusier’s proposals for the city’s modernisation, and does so through a postcolonial, feminist lens. Named after the image of a projectile flying through space, the Plan Obus was based on the idea of a linear city, but never evolved beyond the planning stages. Among its distinctive features was an elevated highway overlooking the Casbah, a Muslim neighborhood preserved by the architect for tourism purposes, among other things.