September 27, 2023


Arts Eternal

Douglas Coupland’s Rabbit Lane exhibition opens at West Van Art Museum

Artist Douglas Coupland’s new exhibition, Rabbit Lane, is motivated by his 1998 novel, Girlfriend in a Coma, established in West Vancouver.

Douglas Coupland printed Girlfriend in a Coma in 1998, a fictional novel that centres a group of good friends in West Vancouver. Revisiting the writings, the West Van artist labored with the West Vancouver Art Museum to make a series of pictures impressed by his e book.

Opening Wednesday (March 30), Rabbit Lane capabilities photographs that have been produced in North and West Vancouver, that includes regional houses, vehicles, volunteer products and even dresses borrowed from the community.

Established in the Rabbit Lane neighbourhood, a authentic spot in West Vancouver, Coupland’s unique novel centres all around Karen McNeil, who falls into a coma that lasts 17 many years. When she awakens, the pals occur jointly as soon as again to encounter an impending apocalypse.

Describing the Rabbit Lane neighbourhood, Coupland said it is an space that time forgot.

“Because of historical reasons, it really is sandwiched among a major empty golfing system and forest. It really is form of down a hill and it’s as tranquil as a tomb,” he said. “And everyone kind of notices. I form of speculate if a little something else [was] going on there in the distant previous, but you will find some form of billed element about it.”

Meeting with the North Shore Information prior to the exhibition opening, Coupland explained the serious stars of the images are the homes.

“It’s a sort of architecture that never receives described, observed, or celebrated, yet it’s generally what 99 per cent of us grew up in, and they are all vanishing incredibly swiftly proper now,” he reported, noting the ranch-design and style properties so common on the North Shore.

Coupland explained again when West Coastline Fashion residences were being manufactured, they were being often to start with households for families and very first mortgages with their a few or 4 little ones.

“Everyone’s mother and father were just scraping by. And there ended up just so quite a few young children everywhere. I indicate, that is what will make it so spooky up there now, mainly because there are no people time period, permit on your own youngsters,” he explained.

His explanation for centring his will work all over West Van, Coupland mentioned, is since he is viewing one thing vanishing that “never had its minute in the sunlight.”

“Growing up right here, we truly believed, understood, and felt [we] were residing in the center of nowhere, or in a location that was not even really a area. And there is certainly form of a freedom that arrived from that,” he explained.

West Vancouver Art Museum curator Hilary Letwin agreed with Coupland, and claimed Rabbit Lane is steeped in nostalgia, noting they experienced to go again to his primary do the job published pretty much 25 several years back.

“We worked with each other to pick the scenes that we desired to recreate, because we knew that we were by no means heading to do photographs that matched the narrative accurately, because that would have been complicated,” she explained.

Seeking to hold the exhibit acceptable for all ages to appreciate, Letwin said they picked the scenes that ended up however capable to give an “underlying ominous quality that certainly exists in the book” without the gore that is discovered in the end of the unique book.

“And seriously, the book additional than something else is about human associations. For the to start with two thirds of the book, it really is about how these close friends and their friendships are created and what they are developed on, and how they continue on to increase collectively,” she explained.

As the function known as for major involvement from the North Shore neighborhood for group sourcing, Letwin said she was at first skeptical that folks would want to volunteer.

“Sure enough, as soon as the post [about crowd sourcing] went up, persons were being emailing promptly to say, ‘I really want to get concerned.’ And, ‘I grew up in North Van,’ or ‘I grew up in West Van and this reserve was the most important reserve to me.’ So all the things that you see in the photographs is essentially borrowed from any person,” she said.

It is not the initially time Coupland has group sourced this most current do the job will come soon after a lengthy line of Coupland tasks that included community involvement, which Letwin explained as a “leitmotif” in his perform.

Letwin observed that a couple West Van volunteers characteristic in additional than one particular of the will work in Rabbit Lane, one thing that Coupland described as purposeful.

“For 32 a long time now, I usually deliberately under describe characters. … I consciously retain any kind of physical descriptors out, because that way, it just implies everyone can consider on their own staying that character,” he claimed.

Rabbit Lane operates right until Could 28 at the West Vancouver Arts Museum, 680 17th St., adjacent to the District of West Vancouver municipal corridor. A lot more facts can be observed listed here.