Visitors and guests can view Coupland’s works on the hotel’s second floor and in The Lobby Lounge, Vancouver’s living room and a place where collaborations with artists and musicians blend together for a unique experience. Coupland is widely viewed as one of the most original commentators on mass culture of the late 20th and the 21st centuries. His exhibit, Green Light Red Light expresses a dynamic that fuses nostalgic pop culture with violence, a dynamic that was clearly expressed in the recent Netflix series, Squid Game.
Green Light Red Light explores the tail end of the twentieth century. Coupland’s pieces share a tone that is at once distinctly menacing, yet wryly camouflaged by his signature broad-spectrum color palette. The two large figures above the main fireplace, Future Boy and Future Girl, from 2016, vividly evoke that same sense of dread generated by oversized nostalgic anime figures commonly seen outside of Japanese and Korean retail stores in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. “It’s strange how quickly the past became ‘history,’ — and it’s even stranger how quickly the future is becoming the present. I think we maybe no longer have a present,” said Coupland. “I think we now inhabit the future 24/7.”
“The launch of The Pacific Gallery at Fairmont Pacific Rim is an exciting addition to our evergrowing art collection, allowing us to prominently feature local and international artists,” said Regional Vice President and Fairmont Pacific Rim General Manager, Jens Moesker. “We are excited to open The Pacific Gallery with renowned artist, Douglas Coupland, a Vancouver local whose work aligns with our ethos from not only an aesthetic lens but also from a sustainability perspective.”
The south wall features a series of 1970s muscle car hoods painted in a style reminiscent of the mineral Fordite, an anthropocenic neo-mineral that is excavated from the demolished automotive spray-paint booths of Michigan and southern Ontario — countless layers of automotive lacquer are sanded and buffed to make a new sort of jewel, its colors evocative of North American society at a peak cultural moment of exotic and brash colors and industrial plenitude. The LED target forms so highly reminiscent of road infrastructure are direct overhead views of a series of 20-metre tall conical outdoor sculptures produced by Coupland in northern Toronto. Its colors are derived from coloured pencil crayons which have been seasonally separated into winter, spring, summer, and fall tones.
The Japanese film starlets of the early 1960s began as a series of work by Coupland in the early 2000s that explored the faces that appended the ends of film countdowns on celluloid heads and tails film trailers. Though seen for only a fraction of a second, these faces etched themselves more deeply in the brain than any film poster — or even the film itself — a classic instance of the medium overriding the message and becoming itself a far more resonant long-term memory. The collection came to The Pacific Gallery at Fairmont Pacific Rim through its ownership group, Westbank, longtime collaborators with Douglas Coupland and one of North America’s leading mixed-use real estate development practices. The exhibit will be on display at The Pacific Gallery into the new year and pieces from the collection are available for purchase through Toronto’s Daniel Faria Gallery.