Often using art history as a departure point for his surreal reinventions, Peter Coffin’s work engages with pre-conceptions about cultural ideals to challenge established perception and interpretation. Taking the form of a giant hand leaning happy-go-lucky against a plinth, Coffin’s Untitled (Unfinished Hand) humorously personifies the tropes of traditional sculpture. Reconfiguring the idealism of modernist art where material purity and the authority of the artistic gesture were held sacrosanct, Coffin monumentalizes the ‘integrity of the artist’s hand’ in wooden planks and wire mesh – the bare bones stuff of modelling.
Coffin’s Untitled (Spiral Staircase) takes the idea of a simple architectural fitting to an absurd extreme. Reminiscent of Escher’s Infinite Staircase, Coffin’s winding steps are moulded into a circle, inexhaustibly twisting in impossible logic made real. By remodeling the steps, Coffin strips the staircase of its function, turning a thing which is normally engaged with physicality into a dizzying conceptual game. Through his humorous constructions, Coffin bridges art history and everyday experience, subverting the preconceptions of both.
Peter Coffin - It Chooses You
"The world is full of objects, more or less interesting. I do not wish to add anymore."
Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Peter Coffin's It Chooses You, the artist's second solo exhibition at the gallery. The show is a conceptual installation of photographs and sculpture.
While Coffin's previous work invoked new age theory and pseudo science to question the way we view reality, It Chooses You pursues ideas endemic to the mental and psychological landscape.
The show is in part a study of modernism, taking it from exclusivity and elitism, and rendering it playful and informal. Through abstractions of invisible thought processes and reinterpretations of iconic artworks, the artist invites a dialogue which considers the interplay of interpretation, memory and association.
It Chooses You also deals with the anatomy of an idea, illustrating that thoughts and ideas are parallel worlds unto themselves. A neon light sculpture follows the movement of an idea from the moment a synapse connects to its articulation.
A painted bronze sculpture interweaves Brancusi's endless column with the children's fable of Jack and the Beanstalk. Photographs of open books, their images captured and taken out of context, ask us to imagine a context for them. The open books are often photographed together, encouraging us to create our own associations of disparate images without being led to a conclusion by the artist.
These media, considered both individually and interactively within the installation, are a catalyst for unstructured creative interpretation and a meditation on the language of ideas.
Peter Coffin - Perfect If On
The Andrew Kreps Gallery is pleased to present Perfect If On, the first solo exhibition in New York of work by Peter Coffin.
Through investigating the paranormal, Coffin's work encourages the viewer to negotiate alternative modes of consciousness and acknowledge the subjectivity of science.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is a greenhouse installed inside the gallery as a performance space in which musicians and sound artists communicate with plants. In this work, no attempt is made to validate the evidence that already exists to support the phenomenon that plants respond to music. Rather the performers are there simply to engage intuitively with the plants.
A calendar at the entrance of the gallery lists scheduled performances. A soundtrack designed for the plants' enjoyment plays when performers are not interacting directly with the installation.
Around the gallery are a series of portraits, unframed photographs of auras, resting on shelves like specimens displayed in a laboratory. The photographs are taken with a specialized Polaroid camera developed to capture auric color fields.
The subjects of the auras have been removed so that only the color fields that comprise the auras remain. These photographs give substance to that which is normally invisible.
Lining the walls behind the aura photographs is a red marker drawing that resembles a flow chart. The drawing was made in the spirit of automatic drawing as a sub-conscious channel. Like the aura photographs, the wall drawing also gives substance to the invisible, in this case telepathy itself.