• THINKING BIG  auction at Christies

    Sale 1188


    17 October 2013, London, King Street

  • Lot 3

    Peter Coffin (b. 1972)

    Untitled (Spiral Staircase)

    Price Realised  

    Peter Coffin (b. 1972)
    Untitled (Spiral Staircase)
    aluminium and steel
    overall: 264 x 264 x 84in. (670.6 x 670.6 x 213.4cm.)
    Executed in 2007, this work is unique in a series of two

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    'Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions. Perception is subjective... Our minds are finite, and yet even in these circumstances of finitude we are surrounded by possibilities that are infinite, and the purpose of human life is to grasp as much as we can out of that infinitude'
    (P. Coffin, quoted in M. Cattelan, 'Peter Coffin', in Flash Art, October 2007).

    Wittily manipulating a metal spiral staircase into a perfect circle, Peter Coffin's Untitled (Spiral Staircase) turns a functional object into a dizzying conceptual game. The twists of toothed metal are looped into an inexhaustible spiral, presenting us with an optical conundrum reminiscent of M. C Escher's Infinite Staircase. Standing at over two metres in diameter and unified by its matt industrial grey colour, Untitled (Spiral Staircase) has a highly compelling, surreal beauty. Frequently confounding traditional notions of representation in his work, Peter Coffin challenges us to reconsider how we understand a familiar object and how we perceive space. Inspired by the belief that intuition and scepticism enable us to leap beyond logical conclusions, Coffin examines our knowledge and interpretation of the world with curiosity and humour. Borrowing from numerous disciplines, such as art history, music, science and New Age beliefs, his diverse conceptual practice exists to test his ideas about the way things work and exist. These often fantastical and monumental constructions both connect art history and everyday experience while subverting our expectations of both.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
    VAT rate of 20% is payable on hammer price and buyer's premium


    Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.
    Acquired from the above in 2008.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note this work is unique variation in series of two.


    Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture, London 2009 (detail illustrated in colour, pp. 256-257 and 260-261; installation view illustrated in colour pp. 259).
    E. Booth-Clibborn (ed.), The History of the Saatchi Gallery, London 2011 (installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 766 and 767).


    London, Saatchi Gallery, Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture, 2009-2010.