Rabbit Lane: Douglas Coupland
About the exhibition
In 1998, Douglas Coupland published Girlfriend in a Coma, a work of fiction that traces the lives of a group of friends from their teenage years through to middle age. Set in West Vancouver, the story centres around Karen McNeil, who falls into a coma that lasts 17 years. When she awakens, the friends come together once again to face an impending apocalypse. The novel, which weaves deftly between literary genres, comes with a moral and a warning.
The book is set in the area of West Vancouver’s Rabbit Lane, which Coupland chose because he spent much time there growing up and he always saw it as “a place that time forgot.”
Coupland has worked with the West Vancouver Art Museum to create a series of staged photographic scenes that were inspired by his book. These photographs were created in West and North Vancouver, featuring local homes, volunteer models, and cars and clothes borrowed from the community. Girlfriend in a Coma specifically resonates with multiple generations of people who grew up or live on the North Shore. This project not only facilitates an exploration into the work of this West Vancouver artist, but also furthers the Art Museum’s commitment to showcasing local residential West Coast Modern architecture, which is swiftly disappearing. This project, like much of Coupland’s written work, is both genre-bending and chronoclastic, exploring how time can be condensed and contracted to change our perceptions.
About the artist
Douglas Coupland is a Canadian novelist, designer, and visual artist. His first novel, the 1991 international bestseller Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, popularized the terms Generation X and McJob. He has published 13 novels, two collections of short stories, seven non-fiction books, and a number of dramatic works and screenplays for film and television. He is a columnist for the Financial Times and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, e-flux journal, Dis, and Vice.
His art exhibits include Everywhere Is Anywhere Is Anything Is Everything, which was exhibited at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (now the Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto), and Bit Rot at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (now the Kunstinstituut Melly), and the Museum Villa Stuck.
Coupland is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of British Columbia. He was the presenter of the 2010 Massey Lectures, with a companion novel to the lectures published by House of Anansi Press: Player One – What Is to Become of Us: A Novel in Five Hours. Coupland has been long-listed twice for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2006 and 2010, was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize in 2009, and was nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in 2011 for Extraordinary Canadians: Marshall McLuhan.
Douglas Coupland in Discussion with Hilary Letwin, presented with the West Vancouver Memorial Library.
Events and guided tours
View the events page for information on curatorial tours.
Exhibition sponsored by:
This exhibition is part of the 2022 Capture Photography Festival Selected Exhibition Program.