Vancouver artist Douglas Coupland has made his head available to be vandalized – well an over-sized fiberglass sculpture of his head at least. In conjunction with his solo exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Coupland installed a seven foot black resin and polyester sculpture on the lawn in front of the gallery. Called ‘Gumhead‘ and described by the artist as a “gum-based, crowd sourced, publicly interactive, self-portrait“, the striking sculpture has a very imposing Soviet-era aesthetic to it.
Gumhead was unveiled in May, and Coupland invited the public to plaster their chewing gum all over it for the duration of 4 months. He hoped to build up such a thick layer of gum, that his features would become obscured. Here he comments on witnessing the process:
At first the added gum looked like jewels against the black. And then the Excel chewing gum van parked beside it during the Jazz Festival and took the whole head to the next level. And then we had a heat wave and the gum started to weep. And now it has a 24-hours cloud of bees and wasps around it. It’s a dream. (Source)
People have reacted to the piece in many different ways. Coupland was delighted with the interactions:
People went directly to snot. They tried big earrings but they would fall off. During the last month, we’ve had the Ebola outbreak so everyone started doing hemorrhagic bleed-out from the eyelids. (Source)
With plans of washing the gum off the sculpture and starting the whole process again in January, when the show moves to Toronto, Coupland is interested to see what else unfolds. Admittedly, he is a bit unsure about it’s success during the Canadian winter, especially the -10 degree temperatures and if the gum will even stick. (Via Escape Kit)