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Douglas Coupland at VAG-17

Douglas Coupland’s long-awaited major visual art exhibition, everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything was revealed to media this morning at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Starting May 31, over 100 works, including eight newly-unveiled pieces will be open to the public.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-25
[Below high-gloss Ziggy Stardust (one of Coupland’s favourite works in the show): I Win, You Lose]

The past 14 years of this Vancouver-based artist’s creative output is evident in a variety of media – installation, painting, photography, prints, sculpture, quilts, and wallpaper. The exhibition explores concepts of cultural identity, technology’s ubiquity, and contemporary life, all central to Coupland’s work. Coupland is a curious, global citizen, and his collections of just about everything imaginable is displayed in meticulous form.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-20

The exhibition is accompanied by a first monograph of Coupland’s visual art, featuring essays from world-renowned authors such as Sophia Al Maria, William Gibson, James Gleick, Bjarke Ingels, Chuck Klosterman, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Michael Stipe, co-published by the VAG and Black Dog Publishing. Last year, Coupland received the Order of Canada; his literary, social commentary, and visual art contributions have been loved and admired the world over.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-2

From the paintings of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven to the Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, Coupland’s work incorporates pop culture, new technology, contemporary events, and art history.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-11
[L to R: Brilliant Information Overload Pop Head, Electric Laser Goo Pop Head, Liquid Video Game Pop Head, Supersonic Mustang Pizza Pop Head]

“Marking the first solo museum exhibition dedicated to the art of one of the most thought-provoking artists working today, everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything reflects the Gallery’s strong commitment to provide a global platform for local artists, ” remarked Kathleen S. Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-18

The title of the exhibition, everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything, reflects Coupland’s range of influence, and speaks to both the artist’s deep engagement with place and cultural identity and, simultaneously, his recognition of a growing ubiquity, as access to information becomes more readily available to the masses with fewer, more controlled sources of news.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-16

“Collecting reveals a lot about you that you may not know.” – Douglas Coupland

everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything brings together works made since the early 2000’s as well as major new installations created specifically for this presentation. It sheds light on subjects as varied as the distinct nature of Canadian identity, the rise of utopian ideas, the power of words, the ubiquitous presence of digital technologies, the emerging culture of fear and the unshakeable nature of one’s own constitution—ideas that Coupland examines with both optimism and some trepidation.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-10
[Slogans for the 21st Century]

The exhibition is presented through six themes:
Secret Handshake: Imagery, objects, and stereotypes showing what it’s truly like to be Canadian
Growing Up Utopian: Lego (and its endless creative possibilities) are used to reflect on both the fantastical and dystopic possibilities born out of this post-war perspective
Words into Objects uses letters, words, and books integrating language in a myriad of ways
The Pop Explosion: Coupland brings classic, everyday images of the Pop Art movement into the 21st century
In The 21st Century Condition, Coupland references recent world events including 9/11, calling out the environmental degradation of the natural world to which we all play a role in
The Brain is a monumental assemblage of 5,000 objects the artist has collected over the years, serving as a metaphor for the complicated ways in which the brain functions

Douglas Coupland at VAG-4 Douglas Coupland at VAG-5 Douglas Coupland at VAG-3

The colourful Lego towers in Growing Up Utopian are the result of two Lego builds where the community got engaged and built hundreds of these towers. Coupland assembled them into groups, eliminating doors and windows, allowing for viewers to see a different perspective by walking around the installation.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-7 Douglas Coupland at VAG-8
[L to R: 100 Tokyo Cleaning Products; Authentic Souvenirs of China]

100 Tokyo cleaning products are proudly stuck onto shelves, portraying the beauty of the words as they morph from one bottle to the next.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-15
[Right and Left-Brain collecting]

Once you reach The Brain, you’ll see how Coupland weaves a fine line between collecting and hoarding, in full colour, and all white, side by side. “Every house should have a Brain room”, added Coupland, as he led us around the various installations.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-24 Douglas Coupland at VAG-13 Douglas Coupland at VAG-14

In conjunction with the exhibit, the VAG has commissioned Coupland to create a site-specific public artwork entitled Gumhead, a seven-foot tall interactive self-portrait by the artist, viewable next to the Gallery on Howe Street. Visitors are encouraged to add their own chewed-up gum to the sculpture; the goal is eventually obscure Coupland’s face. Everyday objects such as gum are utilized by the artist in his work. This is a playful crowd-sourced, social sculpture that will undoubtedly receive its fare share of Instagram posts over the coming weeks. Coupland is interested in seeing how Gumhead will take form.

Douglas Coupland at VAG-1 Douglas Coupland at VAG-21
[Secret Handshake]

Bring your cameras and smart phones: photography and social sharing are encouraged here!

Douglas Coupland at VAG-23
[The Reading Room]

Douglas Coupland at VAG-22
[Secret Handshake]

Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything will run through September 1. Visit the Gallery website for information and events surrounding this exhibit.

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