Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Marcus Coates "185x49x26cm" Preview - Friday 30th November, 6-9pm at Workplace Gallery

Image: Marcus Coates Turtle Mountain 2012, 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.

Marcus Coates


Preview: Friday 30th November 2012 , 6 - 9pm

Exhibition continues:
1st December 2012 - 19th January 2013
Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 5pm
(or by appointment)

Workplace Gallery is delighted to present 185x49x26cm our second solo exhibition by Marcus Coates.

Marcus Coates' new work takes us into the separate worlds of postcolonial exploration, modernist fetishism and new age ritual. Through installation, sculpture and video Coates addresses ways of defining a perceived essence, and strategies of quantifying the unknown.

Coates' new installation All the Grey Animals, 2012 comprises of over 80 cuboid forms each representing an animal that has been defined by its greyness. From a sixteen foot newborn Grey Whale to a one inch Grey Dagger Moth this amassed grouping of animals as objects is a brutal rendering of a vast diversity. Coates presents such a pragmatic and rational representation as a crass abstraction, a generalisation that challenges the viewer to extract an essence of a being from a  human-centric  definition. In parallel to All the Grey Animals is the new sculpture Marcus Coates, White British, 185x49x26cm, 2012 in which Coates turns this reductivist strategy on himself, to be represented by a prosaic counterpart - a tall, thin, white box.

Turtle Mountain, 2012 was filmed near the summit of this mountain on the fringes of the Rocky Mountain range in Southern Alberta, Canada. With The Rockies in the distance and overlooking Oldman River a naked man enacts a ritual with the setting sun whilst another films him; both are played by Marcus Coates. 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. The clichéd procedures and terminologies of this spiritual ritual reveal a narcissistic human tendency to commodify the most basic experience.

The Trip, 2011 is a fixed camera single channel video work that was created as part of the Serpentine Gallery's project Skills Exchange: Urban Transformation and the Politics of Care. Marcus Coates worked with outpatients at St. John's Hospice, London for 2 years from 2009. Wondering what skills and reflections on the world an artist might offer to people in the final stages of their lives, Coates began his project with the question, 'What can I do for you?' Through the ensuing conversations between Coates and his collaborators at the Hospice, many proposals emerged. One of these requests, made by the late Alex H. - the name by which he asked to be referred, was realised by the artist in 2010. Coates was given precise instructions for the trip he was to undertake on Alex's behalf. He was to travel to the Amazon Rainforest and to ask the people he encountered there a set of questions. He decided not to film or photograph the experience, but rather to rely on his own memories, impressions and the stories he collected, to enrich Alex's vision of this already imagined trip. This poignant and moving dialogue between Marcus Coates and Alex H. documents their conversations both before and directly after this journey.

Marcus Coates was born in 1968 in London. Recent solo exhibitions include; Skills Exchange: Urban Transformation and the Politics of Care, Serpentine Gallery, London, Implicit Sound, ESPAI 13, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona,  Psychopomp, Milton Keynes Gallery, and Marcus Coates, Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland. Group exhibtions include; Now I Gotta Reason, Jerwood Space, London, Synthetic Ritual, Pitzer Art Galleries, Pitzer College, Claremont, USA, Transformation, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan, Steps into the Arcane, Kartause Ittingen, Kunstmuseum Thurgau, Switzerland, The Perfect Exhibition, Heidelberger Kunstverein, Germany, 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, ALTERMODERN, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London, Grand National - Art from Britain, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway, MANIFESTA 7, Trento, Italy, Experimental Marathon, Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland, Micro-narratives: tentation des petites réalités, Musée d'Art moderne de Saint-Etienne, France, Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London, Hamsterwheel, Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden and Venice Biennial, and Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Barbican Art Gallery, 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. He currently lives and works in London.

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