The Kraft Singles Chest (from Canada House)

Douglas Coupland2003

Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Art Gallery

The Kraft Singles Chest was originally included in Canada House, Coupland's site-specific installation of 2003. "After the work of securing temporary possession of a late 1950s modernist Vancouver bungalow slated for demolition, Coupland set out to create an environment that would function as his particular take on the complex meanings of Canada as a nation, contested land, woodlot, constitutional exercise, imaginary and unfinished social project. Having first wrapped the house in plastic sheeting and painting the entire inside of the struture in blinding white (a gesture to the proverbial white cube) and then proceeding to fill the house with what he described as 'images, objects, scraps and ideas,' the space once occupied by a mythically nuclear family was reinvented as a spectral, relational cabinet of curiosities that was a material translation of Coupland's critical reading of Canada." —excerpt from Michael Prokopow's essay, "Coupland's True North Strong and Free," included in the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything, published in 2014 by Black Dog Publishing and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

"This is The Kraft Singles Chest, it was made of trash I found on my street that day. It sort of looks like an old Rauschenberg Combine for example. I like the fact that it's incredibly humble and it's just made from these things that you don't even think of as materials." —Douglas Coupland, speaking in the audio guide app that accompanied the Vancouver Art Gallery exhibition Douglas Coupland: everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything.

Through a wide range of media including assemblage, installation, painting, photography, sculpture and quilts, Coupland has persistently investigated Canadian cultural identity, both benign and menacing. Using imagery and objects latent with symbolic meaning for Canadians, he delineates what it means to be Canadian, offering a “secret handshake” not easily understood by others.

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  • Title: The Kraft Singles Chest (from Canada House)
  • Creator: Douglas Coupland
  • Date: 2003
  • Physical Dimensions: w84 x h131 x d58 cm
  • Exhibition section: Secret Handshake
  • Credit line: Private Collection
  • Type: sculpture
  • Medium: laminated cardboard, reclaimed plywood, foam, metal, paint can, birch bark