- What’s Gumhead?
- By Douglas Coupland on May 27, 2014
Gumhead will soon be here, so let’s discuss its roots. For the past decade I’ve had a large and complex relationship with the notion of defacement. This interest stems from a decade-long career of making many very large figurative works across Canada. I can’t believe what people do to public art—it’s annoying but also really fascinating—hence my interest.
My work in defacement has included a wide array of works using many materials: bronze, paint, photography, stickers, blow torches, spray paint, cigarette foils, googly eyes and gum. The first time I used gum was in 2006 — 20,000 pieces chewed by visitors to an exhibition in North Vancouver, many of them school children encouraged to transgress everyday assumptions as a way to participate in art making. It smelled great.
In the VAG show there are number of works that have involved the public and crowd sourcing: plastic bottle caps collected at book events via Twitter, tin foil collected also via Twitter, Lego building for children and adults at the VAG and once again, gum.
For me, Gumhead connects the dots that span a decade and a half of making and exhibiting large-scale representations of the human head and body. (Photos attached)
In asking people to participate in Gumhead’s ultimate form, I hope it allows for a more accessible participation in the creation of public art. And …it’s also my head! Will there be snot? Will there be horns? Let’s find out in this social experiment. Now bring on the gum!
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- Generous support from:
- Vancouver Foundation
- The Artworkers Retirement Society
- Gary R. Bell
- Jake and Judy Kerr
- Digital Application developed with the participation of Creative BC and the British Columbia Arts Council
Image credits Top: Douglas Coupland, Brilliant Information Overload Pop Head, 2010 (detail), acrylic and epoxy on pigment print, Collection of Lucia Haugen Lundin. Background images: (top and bottom) Mist Fantasy, 2010 (detail), acrylic on linen, Private Collection; The pioneers believed the land was holy. The New World was the last thing on earth that could be given to humankind: two continents spanning the poles–continents as clean and green and milky blue as the First Day. The New World was built to make mankind surrender., 2011 (detail), acrylic and latex on canvas, Private Collection; Four Seasons (Fall), 2014 (detail), Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery; The Poet, 2013 (detail), acrylic on linen, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Promised Gift of the Artist; Background images: Mist Fantasy, 2010, acrylic on linen, Private Collection Spectra Four Seasons, 2010 (detail), pencil crayons, Plexiglas, series of 4, Collection of Encana Corporation, Calgary The pioneers believed the land was holy. The New World was the last thing on earth that could be given to humankind: two continents spanning the poles–continents as clean and green and milky blue as the First Day. The New World was built to make mankind surrender., 2011, acrylic and latex on canvas, Private Collection The Poet, 2013, acrylic on linen, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Promised Gift of the Artist Four Seasons, 2013 (detail), Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery