On Peter Coffin's, Perfect If On
Ricardo Miranda ZuŮiga

So what do you get when you take a Berkeley born and bred young artist and give him a Chelsea Gallery to work in?

Just when I had sworn off writing about Chelsea shows and even considered not doing Chelsea gallery walks again, along comes a hippie, hipster Brooklyn based young artist injecting some life into the Chelsea scene.

If you visit the Andrew Kreps Gallery this coming week, you are likely to encounter a live musical performance enacted within a greenhouse placed in the center of the gallery. Depending on the date and time of your visit, the music may be anything from experimental electronica to acoustic tribal drumming (see schedule of performances below). Peter Coffinís Perfect If On takes the science out of plant and music research to create a dynamic celebration, where you along with 20 some-odd plants play audience to live performances by an array of New York based musicians, djís and sound artists. A throw back to late 60ís and early 70ís artist experimentation, Coffinís Perfect If On feels fresh and invigorating amongst the largely conservative exhibitions throughout the Chelsea area.

Surrounding the greenhouse are seductive aura photographs taken with a specialized Polaroid camera through which the subject is represented by low opacity rainbow color silhouettes ≠ effectively the aura of the subject. Each photograph sits on a narrow stainless steel shelf. The shelves help establish the sense of sterile environment, such as that of a laboratory. However the neatness of the installation is broken up by the wall drawing throughout the space.

Lining the walls behind the aura photographs is a red marker drawing that looks like a flow chart or a map. The drawing was inspired by a scene from E.T., The Extra Terrestrial in which E.T. telepathically communicates mysterious schematic plans to Elliot. Like the aura photographs, the wall drawing also gives substance to the invisible, in this case telepathy itself.

As an element of the installation, the wall drawings seem the least resolved, as they feel restrained at the corners of the gallery space, rather than engulfing the entire space. Had the schematic drawing obsessively expanded throughout the space, it could have very well acted as a symbolic housing for the greenhouse to establish a sense that beyond our physical reality exists an expansive psychic energy.

The installation also does little to establish a conceptual relationship between the aura drawings and the greenhouse, however a common aesthetic of white and lightness aid in creating a unified installation.

By far the most successful element is that of greenhouse as performance space. Iíve enjoyed two of the performances at Perfect If On and once the artists get into their groove, a transformative, out of body sensibility takes over the installation and suddenly it's on.

Peter Coffin's Perfect If Onis on view at:
Andrew Kreps Gallery
516A West 20th Street, btw. 10th & 11th in Chelsea
gallery hours: Tues - Sat, 11 - 6:30pm
"Perfect If On", March 23 - April 20

Schedule of Performances

6:00 Chris Corsano, Sean Meehan & Michael Evans
7:30 Tim Barnes and Barry Weisblat
2:00 - 4:00 Edwin 'stats' Houghten
1:30 - 3:00 Karla Calderon
3:00 - 6:00 DJ John Arroyo ("fingers")
1:00 - 2:00 qpe
2:30 - 4:00 Raz Mesinai
4:00 - 6:30 Matt Valentine & Erika Elder Medicine Show
1:00 - 4:00 simplex
3:00 - 5:00 Original Instrument (kracfive)
2:00 - 4:00 Gnosis
4:00 - 6:00 Alan Licht & Jutta Koether
12:00-2:00 Wheeler
1:00 - 2:00 Electrophilia
2:00 - 3:30 DJ Olive (the Audio Janitor)
3:30 - 5:00 O.blaat
5:00 - 6:00 Black Korea
2:00 - 4:00 This Invitation (W. Ng, and C. Farnum)
4:00 - 6:00 Aaron Siegel
2:00 - 4:00 Sam Hilmer and Gabe Andruzzi
4:00 - 6:00 Zak Prekop & Pete Mandradjieff
1:00 - 3:00 Marumari
3:00 - 5:00 seed ( ) & Tetsu Inoue
5:00 - 6:30 Yamini Nayar
4:00 - 6:00 Edgar Um Bucholtz and Dave Shim
4/18 Night Station
3:00 - 5:00 Z's 40
6:00 - 9:00 Black Dice
1:00 - 3:30 Kenta Nagai
3:30 - 4:30 LoVid (Tali Hinkis and Kyle Lapidus)