September 7- October 5, 2001
Douglas Coupland, author of GENERATION X, presents his
first New York art show entitled SPIKE at Totem
Gallery. The exhibition is
very appropriate for Totem Design, New York's leading proponent of contemporary
media comprised of Totem
Magazine, www.totemdesign.com, and Totem
located in the heart of Soho at 83 Grand Street. Featuring a stable of emerging
and established designers and artists working in many mediums, Totem
Gallery addresses the faltering dichotomy of art and design.
Spike is the first full-sized sculpture installation Douglas
Coupland has done since 1986. Why sculpture instead of words? He is asked
that all the time. The best answer that I can think of is that sculpture
is a frozen 3D snapshot of the world as seen through an emotional and critical
lens. Sculpture uses a different part of the brain or a different part
of the soul‚ the self.
"A very large and strange transformation took over my own family two years ago
with the birth of my niece who arrived with no left hand. Sounds simple enough,
but the effect was deep and ongoing and in many senses turned my family inside
out, like sleeping bags, letting us shake out the dust and bedbugs and let
the sun do some healing. The family situation was aggravated by a spike in birth
defects in the part of Vancouver where we live. Hence the title of the show.
The spike made the papers, and the spike was definitely there, but in the end
there was insufficient energy, will and know-how on the part of the local medical
authorities to ferret out the reason for this spike. There was no Erin Brokovich."
"Sculpturally, I have tried to deal with changes in my worldview but in a different
way. Shortly after my niece's birth I was in a North Vancouver Wal-Mart's shampoo
section when, wham!, I emptied my cart out and filled it with one of every plastic
bottle in the shop. Bottles, stripped of labels, are beautiful; I thought I was
responding to these bottles purely as Pop artifacts. But the obsession continued,
and finally a friend pointed out to me that plastic bottles are all about the
hand, and with no hand, a bottle is useless, really, and the punch line is that
it's precisely the bizarre chemicals inside these things that might damage a
baby in the 6th or 7th week of fetal development. Bingo. The rest of the pieces
flowed from there, the soldier pieces as well‚ the obvious political implication
of the color green plus a manifestation of my family's military background."
"Writing and sculpture aren't therapy, they're both ways in which we as humans
can make sense of, and come to grips with, our experiences, of taking something
intensely personal and rendering it universal."
The author behind books like "Generation X," "Microserfs" and "Life After God" grew
up on a NATO base in West Germany, which may have inspired the theme of his
exhibition at Totem Gallery, where we will be treated to a blend of truly Warholian
pop art, battle scenes as they may have played out in the boys room, and — in
another section of the gallery — sales of his limited edition design collection.
Coupland has twice been awarded the Canadian Award for Good Design. His extreme
pop culture savvy is seen equally in his art, his writing and in his design.