Douglas Coupland revisits his comatose girlfriend in new West Vancouver photography exhibition


British Columbia artist and writer Douglas Coupland nostalgically returns to the West Vancouver scenes of his 1998 book girlfriend in coma.

in a new the photography fair has just opened at the West Vancouver Art Museum, current images of his childhood neighborhood of Rabbit Lane reflect themes from his sixth book.

The story, set in West Vancouver, involves a group of teenage to middle-aged friends and revolves around Karen McNeil, who falls into a coma that lasts 17 years.

Upon awakening, the book’s characters reunite to face an impending apocalypse.

A man looks at Douglas Coupland’s “Doom,” one of the renowned artist’s works on display at the West Vancouver Art Museum’s Rabbit Lane exhibition from March 30 to May 28, 2022, in an installation photograph provided by the museum . (Blaine Campbell/West Vancouver Art Museum)

Several of the photographs in the new exhibit also echo the novel’s apocalyptic themes, with titles such as “Doom” and “The End.”

“The star of the show is in a sense the houses of the show,” Coupland told CBC’s Lisa Christiansen, with The Early Edition. “It’s this area of ​​West Van…and most people who go there have this weird sense of time that stopped somewhere around 1966.”

The Rabbit Lane area is where Coupland spent time growing up, he explained while touring the show.

“Grad Nights 5:30 AM” by Douglas Coupland is one of the renowned artist’s works on display at the West Vancouver Art Museum’s Rabbit Lane exhibition from March 30 to May 28, 2022. Coupland premiered the 2021 piece with a giclée on Dibond aluminum composite material. . (Douglas Coupland/Daniel Faria Gallery)

Museum curator and administrator Hilary Letwin said she approached Coupland about two years ago to discuss a West Vancouver-themed exhibit.

“We took a lot of walks and talked about how West Vancouver influences [his] writing and art,” she says.

Coupland came up with the idea for a photography exhibition depicting certain locations and scenes from his acclaimed novel.

“It became clear very quickly that the exhibit was not just about the book and how much had or had not changed in the 25 years since the book was published,” Letwin explained. “But it also became clear that homes in the neighborhood were playing a prominent role.”

Douglas Coupland’s Rabbit Lane exhibition is on view at the West Vancouver Art Museum, where it is on view to the public from March 30 to May 28, 2022, in an installation photograph provided by the museum. (Blaine Campbell/West Vancouver Art Museum)

The models photographed for the exhibition were all local volunteers, solicited by a call in the North Shore News. Many people responded “overwhelmingly” to offer their homes, time and cars for the shoots, Letwin said.

“I would like to think [visitors] look at them and say, “My God, I could easily be in that picture somehow,” Coupland said. spend their day in the sun, maybe.”

His Way of the Rabbits The exhibition is open to the public until May 28 at the West Vancouver Art Museum.