Artist Talk – Marcus Coates in conversation

Marcus Coates, Turtle Mountain, 2012, Still from High Definition Video. Produced in association with the Southern Alberta Art Gallery as part of their Intersection International Residency program. Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK

15 January 2013


Artist Talk, North Member Programme

Workplace Gallery
The Old Post Office, 19/21 West Street
Gateshead, NE8 1AD

Free to CAS members


Contact Rebecca Morrill for details of new event date.

Described in The Telegraph in 2010 as ‘one of the most intelligent and original artists in this country today’, Marcus Coates is best known for work that questions the role of the artist in relation to a range of social issues, as well as for his explorations of bird and animal worlds and their status in folklore and mythology.

In his second solo exhibition at Workplace Gallery, Marcus Coates takes viewers into the separate worlds of postcolonial exploration, modernist fetishism and new age ritual. The new installation All the Grey Animals, 2012 comprises over 80 cuboid forms of different sizes, each representing an animal that has been defined by its greyness. In parallel, the sculpture Marcus Coates, White British, 185x49x26cm, 2012, sees the artist turn this reductivist strategy on himself.

The exhibition also presents two video works. Turtle Mountain, 2012, features a naked man enacting a sun ritual on a mountain top, whilst another man films him. Seemingly concerned with a ‘spiritual alignment’, the performer of the ritual is autocratic and impatient, fixated on the correct way to conjure this elusive experience with sometimes comic effect. In contrast, The Trip, 2011, presents the poignant and moving dialogue between Marcus Coates and Alex H. an outpatient at St. John’s Hospice, London, where Coates worked for 2 years as part of the Serpentine Gallery project Skills Exchange: Urban Transformation and the Politics of Care. The artist followed precise instructions for the trip he was to undertake on Alex’s behalf to the Amazon Rainforest, and this film documents their conversations both before and directly after this journey.

Born in 1968 in London, recent solo exhibitions include; Implicit Sound, ESPAI 13, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Psychopomp, Milton Keynes Gallery and Marcus Coates, Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland. Group exhibitions include Galápagos, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh; THE BEAUTY OF DISTANCE: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age, Sydney Biennale, Australia; A Duck for Mr. Darwin, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead and ALTERMODERN, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London. In 2008 Marcus Coates was the recipient of a Paul Hamyln Award, in 2009 he won the Diawa Art Prize, and he was shortlisted for The Jarman Award in 2012.

Join us to hear the artist talk about his exhibition at Workplace Gallery.

For any further information about becoming a member of the Contemporary Art Society North  or to book places on upcoming events, contact Rebecca Morrill, Head of Collector Development North, on 07815 830 182 or email


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