Shannon Bool

Tapestries, sculptures and photograms
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
19.10.2016 – 15.01.2017

The artwork of Shannon Bool is influenced by literature, psychology, art history, and decoration. Over the years, Bool has developed an art practice that draws heavily on art-historical studies of surface and ornamentation, whereby decorative patterns become disruptive elements in photograms and large-scale tapestries.

For Le Grand Balcon, Bool has designed two new tapestries, each representing a symbol from the start of the Modernist era. The smaller tapestry is based on a photograph of one of the marbled entrances of Adolf Loos’ famous building—the “Looshaus”—in Vienna. The Looshaus (also known as the Goldman & Salatsch Building) is regarded as the first example of Modernist architecture in Vienna and one of the most important structures of the Viennese Modern Age (1890-1910). In the image, Bool has collaged a mannequin, which is mirrored infinitely across the tapestry.

A mannequin also appears in the second tapestry, The Five Wives of Lajos Bíró, which is based on documentary photography of Modernist commercial design. In this case, the photograph depicts the “Pavillon d’Élégance” at the International Exhibition in Paris in 1925, where Siégel & Stockman Company presented its first Modernist mannequins. Highly stylized and idealized, these Modernist dummies were immediately celebrated (Siégel & Stockman were awarded a gold medal for their creation). In Bool’s tapestry, Malagan patterns from Papua, New Guinea are superimposed on the mannequin figures. The juxtaposition of the Papuan figurines with the Western tools of consumption thus points to Modernism’s fraught visual history. The production process of the tapestries furthers this rumination: Bool’s images are digitally created and enlarged in such a way that their low resolution becomes a part of the woven patterns.

Looshaus, The Five Wives of Lajos Bíró and Untitled (marble floor) are commissioned and produced by La Biennale de Montréal for Le Grand Balcon.