“Play is not ordinary life…. [This] does not by any means prevent it from proceeding with seriousness, with an absorption and a devotion. The contrast between play and seriousness is always fluid. ”
The artist, whose practice includes photography, assemblage, performance, time-based media, installations, sound art, and sculpture in many forms, often draws inspiration from odd facts or obscure theories. To emphasize the artist’s chameleon-like virtuosity, the works in the exhibition, rather than being concentrated within one exhibition area, are installed in spaces around the Museum. The title of the show, “Here and There,” refers to the fact that Coffin’s works are scattered throughout the museum: A dog with the dimensions of a small horse, a darkened gallery taking pieces of the museum’ collection including paintings by Pablo Picasso, John Singer Sargent, Jasper Johns and others and “defacing” them using projected video animations. On the museum’s outdoor plaza, is a large spiral staircase bent into a circular form that echoes the doughnut-shaped museum’s architecture. It’s an Escherlike visual conundrum but also a metaphor for a journey that takes you back to where you started.
Transforming the ordinary into something extraordinary, this amazing exhibit will be open until October 6 at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum.