The crowds were thickly gathering on the final day of the exhibition as I captured these photos, I apologize for the poor quality, shooting between dozens of heads. The wall description photo was totally out of focus so I paraphrase it here:
‘The collages forming Coupland’s Penguins series are centered around the Penguin publishing house’s familiar orange and black paper backs. Over the covers of these iconic cultural tomes Coupland has applied vinyl texts. Some of these, read across several splayed paperbacks, form short phrases such as “Love Will Tear Us Apart” a song by British post-punk band, Joy Division or “Blasphemous Rumours” the title of a Depeche Mode song. These phrases layer additional cultural references to the books beneath them.
In my photos I have edited the sequences for brevity.
I admit I haven’t read all of the novels referenced. I know there are those amongst you that have. I believe the vinyl overlays probably connect to the underlying theme of each novel. Am I correct in my assumption?
I nostalgically connect with the distinctive design of the Penguin covers, remembering them from my early years of reading. I think I understand some of the textual relevance of the overlays. I enjoy the formal qualities of the juxtapositions of Coupland’s text over the Penguin covers, the blocking off and letting through, the casual use of duct and painter’s tape. How do these collages work for you? What memories are evoked for you by these Penguin covers?
Please see my first post in this series for full explanation of all posts. Also see my first ‘Slogans’ post to understand #8.
Credits: thank you to Douglas Coupland and the Vancouver Art Gallery for images and wall descriptions.
All photos by clinock.