Words Into Objects

As both a writer and visual artist, Coupland has often disregarded the traditional divide between these two disciplines. Using letters, words and books, Coupland harnesses the power of language in the visual realm, relying on its form as much as its content to create his work. His Talking Sticks series, for example, consists of sculptures made from lettered children’s building blocks that have been stacked to create words and short phrases. The title of the series refers to the speaker’s staff used by many Aboriginal tribes to signifying who has the authority to speak during a group discussion. These totemic forms proclaim words and phrases such as “Hostile bid,” “Tombstone” and “Poison pill”that are incongruous with the blocks’ cheerful colours and educational intent. Coupland astutely integrates language in a myriad of ways throughout his practice, providing surprising results when words leave the literary world and become objects in their own right.

God, 2007, vinyl, resin, book covers, Collection of Ben Mills
Slogans for the 21st Century, 2011-2014 (detail), Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery
Slogans for the 21st Century, 2011-2014 (detail), Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery