Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Douglas Coupland, Warflowers No 5, 2007
Douglas Coupland, Warflowers No 5, 2007
2007 Public Installation

DOUGLAS COUPLAND
WARFLOWERS, 2007

May 1–28, 2007
Transit Shelters on Queen St W
Five transit shelters on Queen St W from Shaw to Gladstone

Warflowers is a new site-specific series of
images by Douglas
Coupland touching on issues of home, family and
military
culture.
Douglas Coupland was born on a Canadian Air
Force base in
Germany in 1961. In 1965 his family moved to
Vancouver,
where
he still lives and works. Coupland studied art and
design in
Canada, Italy and Japan and his interests led him to
writing.
Since his first novel, Generation X, was published
in 1991, he
has
written nine novels and several non-fiction books
published
in 35 languages. Coupland’s first story written
specifically for
the screen, Everything’s Gone Green, was
released in 2006
and
he is currently working on a series for television. In
2001, he
resumed practice as a visual artist, which includes
sculpture,
painting and photography, with exhibitions in North
America,
Europe and Asia. Here he describes his project for
CONTACT.

“In the past five years, it’s become more apparent
to me just
how
profoundly a military upbringing within a family
highly steeped
in
gun culture has influenced and prejudiced me. I
look around
where
I live, and most of the art I collect and keep near me
is highly
military
and weapons-based. To me, guns equal
domesticity; military
equals safety. Much of the work I’ve done since
2001
explicitly
invokes the iconography of the military and of
death. It’s been
about me being able to locate a slot for myself
within this world
where I can, if not ‘fit in,’ then create a place of
relative safety.
My work is largely about creating spaces and
artifacts where
the
military fuses with pop and where violence meets
media
culture.

“The Warflowers series is about as close to self-
portraiture as
I’ve
ever come. I don’t want to over-explain the images;
I want
them
to retain some sense of the poetic. The flower
arrangements
are
ikebana arrangements of the rikka school, the most
challenging
of ikebana styles. The contradiction of rikka is that
an
extraordinary
amount of artifice is used to create a natural
aesthetic.
They evoke landscape but they’re about as natural
as
microwave
ovens. When placed alongside the works’ military
iconography
(derived from decals in plastic airplane model kits)
a vibrating
back-and-forth experience occurs where one is
moving in
and out
of the 2-D graphics plane into the 3-D photo plane,
ending up
in
a hybrid space. I find it a very beautiful and
evanescent
place.”

Douglas Coupland’s installation is proudly
sponsored by
Concord CityPlace.
Coupland is the artist for the CityPlace Community
Park, an 8-
acre public park
that will form an important art-inspired public space
celebrating Canada.

The
Concord CityPlace public art program was initiated
in
response to the Private
Developer 1% for Art Requirement administered
through City
of Toronto
Planning and Urban Design. Concord CityPlace will
house $6
million worth of
permanent public art projects for the enjoyment of
the whole
community.

Scotiabank CONTACT
Photography Festival

80 Spadina Ave Suite 205
Toronto ON M5V 2J4
Gallery Hours
Tue-Fri 11am–5pm
The CONTACT Gallery
is wheelchair accessible.