The 21st Century Condition

The 21st century has been shaped by many events but in Coupland’s view perhaps most profoundly by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, environmental degradation and the ubiquitous presence of new technologies.  Coupland comments on the darker side of today’s world through installations and paintings that are often enhanced by viewing through smartphone technology. “I want to explore how it feels to be inside the 21st century brain as opposed to the 20th century brain.” – Douglas Coupland In examining the contemporary condition, Coupland has consistently taken an interest in current events and political issues, often considering them through the lens of mass media. In these works he references world events including the FLQ crisis, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, grappling with the more difficult aspects of contemporary life. Other works here appear initially as abstract compositions, but when viewed through the lens of a smartphone the pictures comes into greater focus. By encouraging this simple act of engagement, Coupland acknowledges the way many people now experience the world—virtually, through their ever-present mobile phones. This section also includes The World, an installation made from architectural models that creates a dystopic landscape and calls attention to another urgent issue of the 21st century: the environmental degradation of the natural world to which we have all contributed.

Poseidon Adventure (Upside down Tree), 2013, acrylic on canvas, Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery
Robbery, 2013, achromatic pigment print on watercolour paper, Private Collection