Growing Up Utopian

Growing up on the west coast of North America in the latter half of the 20th century, Coupland’s childhood was imbued with a deep-rooted optimism, a sense that tomorrow would be an improvement on today. The works in this section use Lego, latent with endless creative possibilities, to reflect on both the fantastical and dystopic possibilities born out of this post-war perspective.

345 Modern House is named after the first and last Lego kit the artist bought as a child; taking inspiration from this kit, which was first issued in 1969, the work comprises 100 identical Lego houses (fashioned from original Lego parts as well as hand-cast resin components that replace lost pieces) and represents the social progress embedded in its repetitive perfection.

In stark contrast, Towers represents an imaginative urban jungle that is the result of crowd-sourced Lego structures created over a series of events where the artist invited adults and children to build towers in response to various themes and words. Coupland then modified and combined these constructions to form this complex cityscape, perhaps representing a dream world of the future. Coupland stated that “the ensuing hybrid buildings might well have emerged from a parallel universe, or from the year 2500.”

Lego tower component incorporated into the installation Towers, 2014, Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery, made with the enthusiastic participation of children and their parents, interested adults and members of the Vancouver Lego Club
Lego tower component incorporated into the installation Towers, 2014, Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery, made with the enthusiastic participation of children and their parents, interested adults and members of the Vancouver Lego Club