So this is what it looks like when you give people free reign to put their chewing gum on a sculpture! Artist Doug Coupland created this seven-foot black, resin and polyester sculpture of his own head and then encouraged the public to engage in his work by applying their own chewed gum on it. The statue, called Gumhead, was put in place on May 31 and sat on Howe Street outside the Vancouver Art Gallery until September 1. Slowly but surely it was colorfully dotted with pieces of gum. Towards the end, you could hardly see the figure’s face.
Metro conducted a funny Q&A with Coupland in which he said about the public’s reaction: “I’ve been everywhere and I’ve never seen people interact so intimately and for such a long time as they do with Gumhead. And people who drive past it every day like to monitor its progress. It’s eight pieces in one: a self-portrait, a still life, a landscape, social sculpture, performance art, conceptual art and time-based art. And it wants to be your friend.”
He said about the progression, “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.”
Above photo: Mark Klotz