The Brain

Coupland’s monumental assemblage, The Brain, created from an astonishing array of objects the artist collected for over a decade, reveals his personal predilections and preferences.  With roots in the historic “cabinets of curiosities,” The Brain is simultaneously a still life, a landscape and a portrait.

This monumental assemblage is the result of more than two decades that Coupland has spent collecting. Since 1993 up until recently, the artist has amassed an incredibly wide range of objects, culling from eBay, Craigslist, thrift stores and garage sales. Relying on this collection of approximately 5,000 objects including toys and trinkets, vases, cameras, calculators, curios from hillbilly culture, German and Japanese paraphernalia—the full range of which is too vast to index—Coupland has created a contemporary cabinet of curiosities, a seemingly encyclopedic catalogue of objects. This installation, which reaches from floor to ceiling, is simultaneously a densely populated, three-dimensional still life with each object speaking to those strategically placed around it, as well as a cultural landscape of sorts depicting life as we know it. It also serves as a portrait of Coupland’s subconscious, openly revealing the artist’s predilections and exploring the notion that we are predisposed to particular likes and dislikes—a poetic metaphor for the artist’s own brain.

Materials used in the The Brain, 2000–2014, mixed-media installation with readymade objects, Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery
Materials used in the The Brain, 2000–2014, mixed-media installation with readymade objects, Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery
Boxes that formerly held materials used in The Brain, 2000–2014, mixed-media installation with readymade objects, Courtesy of the Artist and Daniel Faria Gallery Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery