Marcus Coates gained notoriety for his video installation Dawn Chorus (2007), in which singers mimicking birdsong are shown in their own natural habitats, like their living rooms or offices. Coates works in various other media, including photography, sculpture and sound, yet he is best known for his performative films in which he explores encounters between the human and animal worlds.
Coates usually appears in his own films, often in the shape of a shamanic figure who interacts with members of the public and channels animal spirits in order to offer insight into the problems of the human world. His interest in the transition between human and animal, this ‘becoming animal’, is also explored in a series of photographic self-portraits from 2013 in which Coates transforms himself into insects and mollusks.
Born in London in 1968 where he lives and works today, Coates studied at the Kent Institute of Art and Design and the Royal Academy of Art in London.
He has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, and solo exhibitions include Proxy at Kate Macgarry in London (2012); Dawn Chorus at Aberystwyth Arts Centre in Wales (2012); The Trip at The Serpentine Gallery, Artist Studio in London (2011) and Psychopomp at Milton Keynes Gallery (2010). He was also included in the 2009 Tate Triennale exhibition Altermodern, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud. Recent exhibitions include The Last of Its Kind at Workplace Gallery in London (2018), Ask the Birds at Whitechapel Gallery in London (2018) and The Sounds of Others at Innsbruck Biennale, Austria (2018).