Marcus Coates | the artist




The artist Marcus Coates
Born 1968, London, UK.
Lives and works in Gateshead, UK.

Style and technique of the artist: Video, Performance Art, Sydney Biennale,


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Marcus Coates
Try to imagine a digital art video set in a block of high-rise council flats on a run-down estate on the outskirts of Liverpool: if there is a more dispiriting description of a work of art in the English language I have yet to hear it. But I’ve now seen Marcus Coates’s Journey to the Lower World several times, and each time it is just as funny, just as tense, and just as strange as I remembered it…

Marcus Coates video
Dawn Chorus is the latest in a series of films by British artist Marcus Coates, in which he attempts to make the human voice mimic birdsong. In this multi-screen video installation 19 singers reproduce a recording of a group of wild British birds singing at dawn. Below is a short clip from one film, featuring the song of the yellowhammer…

Marcus Coates
Of his shamanic training, he says, “I haven’t really had any”, but he does have a weekend course under his belt. “I think what I possibly take is an idea called core shamanism. The idea that the fundamentals of the shamanistic technique are open to everyone.” Instead of magic, Coates uses meditation in what he describes as a “watered-down” version of indigenous tribal practices. The sceptics among you were right all along. “I think firstly I should say that I am deeply skeptical myself, particularly about new age culture,” he says. Disappointment soon gives way to relief…

Marcus Coates
Marcus Coates (born London, 1968) is well-known for his video works, which record the artist making shamanistic performances. These events tend to take place in municipal spaces such as offices or council housing buildings, and happen in front of members of the public. The viewer is left unsure as to Coates’ convictions, as the work oscillates between comedy and a proposition that art can be restorative…



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