Shannon Bool’s show at Kunstverein Braunschweig calls attention to the exoticising and objectifying vision of Le Corbusier

The Modulor Man appears in Berlin-based artist Shannon Bool’s exhibition ‘House of Oblivion’ at Kunstverein Braunschweig. On large dark blue tapestries, Bool neatly embroiders the figure into the fabric with white thread. Here, too, he resides in the architecture of his inventor: blueprints of Le Corbusier’s unrealized buildings in Algiers. Le Corbusier’s clean construction plans are overlaid with shapes drawn from decorative motifs in the Berber carpets he so admired. But Bool’s jacquard tapestries Oued Ouchaia and Maison locative Ponsik (both 2018) contain more bodies than we see at first. Ornaments give way to women’s bodies, taken from the architect’s erotic drawings, exposing his objectified gaze onto women. While the female body was completely excluded from the considerations of the Modulor, it did appear – in Le Corbusier’s sexual fantasies.1

  • 1. This work is only one example of how Bool connects art history with today’s mass media. In this way, it resembles the argument of architectural historian Beatriz Colomina’s book Privacy and Publicity (1996), in which she claims that the architecture of Le Corbusier and Adolf Loos only became modern through its engagement with mass media. Similarly, Bool questions the success of modernism and shifts our gaze towards structures that lie underneath its myth. She asks: can we call this period ‘modern’ at all, with its many suppressed, pervasive problems?