Coupland’s “Everywhere is Anywhere is Anything is Everything” Exhibit Challenges the 21st Century Cultural Identity

Posted by Jennifer Palfery & filed under Art & Design.

Photo Source: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_coupland.html
Photo Source: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_coupland.html

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If the title itself doesn’t provoke your curiosity, the pieces displayed within Douglas Coupland’s solo exhibition, everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything, are bound to capture and ignite your senses. Coupland’s visually enthralling masterpieces include installations, paintings, photography, prints, and quilts – all united by the extraordinary theme of the “21st Century Condition.”

Coupland’s art is meant to disrupt our technological consciousness and reliance in order to make way for revolutionary, organic thinking. For many of us, technology has long affected how we perceive our own realities. In this proliferating digital age with information so readily available at our fingertips, there is certain discomfort that comes along with knowing too much yet simultaneously not being enough aware.

Even back in ancient Greece, Aristotle was eerily correct in his saying, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” Now in the 21st century, this phrase could not be more relevant; a thought that has come into full fruition as a product of the 21st Century Condition.

With cameos of artistic inspiration from the likes of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven to the pop art revolutionary Andy Warhol, Coupland’s work exudes vibrancy, color, and innovative elements that border on a juvenile style. The substantial contrast between the animated aesthetic and the dystopian undertones of Coupland’s work effectively stimulates one’s visual and intellectual senses. With surrealistic construction and presentation by way of components such as Lego and toy figurines, Coupland forces the observing individual to question the presence of technology in their day to day life, the power of language and symbols, and the effects of globalization on one’s cultural identity.

Photo Source: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_coupland.html

Photo Source: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_coupland.html

In addition to Coupland’s works within his exhibition is a public sculpture located on Howe Street right outside the Art Gallery. The sculpture entitled “Gumhead” is a seven-foot tall self-portrait through which Coupland encourages the public to stick their own chewed up gum to. This interactive social-sculpture allows for passersby to partake in an art piece, eventually meant to transform and obscure the sculpture’s face. As in traditional Coupland fashion, unorthodox materials – such as gum – provide the platform to incorporate the public into his masterpieces, creating and sharing art whilst providing an odd sense of togetherness.

Besides being a visual artist, Coupland is a globally renowned writer with 13 published novels including the international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.

Coupland’s exhibit is being featured at the Vancouver Art Gallery from May 31st to September 1st, as his first major survey exhibition. 

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