Journey to the Lower World by Marcus Coates at Walker Art Gallery

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Head of fine art, Ann Bukantas, takes a close look at the video

This interesting and humourous video has just appeared in room 14 at the Walker. It’s on 2 screens, the one to the left is blank for a lot of the time but then shows an enactment of the artist’s journey (to the lower world – via the lift) whilst in his trance-like state.

Journey to the Lower World by Marcus Coates – New acquisition for the Walker Art Gallery

A film artwork based in a Liverpool housing estate by the influential contemporary artist Marcus Coates goes on display for the first time in the city at the Walker Art Gallery from 1 August 2010 to early 2011.

Journey to the Lower World, a major piece of work by Coates, was purchased by the gallery with the help of the Contemporary Art Society’s Acquisitions Scheme. The film is an exciting addition to the gallery’s internationally renowned collection.

The work arose from Further Up in the Air, a residency programme for artists in Liverpool’s Sheil Park estate in 2003. In the film residents from Linosa Close, a tower block awaiting demolition, watch with a mixture of anxiety, faith and good humour as Coates performs a shamanic ritual. Dressed in a deer skin and uttering eerie, animalistic grunts, he attempts to answer the emotive question put to him by his audience: “Do we have a protector for this site? What is it?”

Head of fine art, Ann Bukantas says: “Journey to the Lower World is a touching, funny and fascinating film. We are delighted that a key work by an artist of the calibre and originality of Marcus Coates is joining the Walker’s collection. We are grateful to the Contemporary Art Society’s Acquisitions Scheme for making it possible”

Journey to the Lower World will be on display at the Walker Art Gallery during the Liverpool Biennial (17 Sept to 28 November 2010).

Marcus Coates will be giving a talk about his work at the Walker Art Gallery on 27 October 2010 at 1.00pm. The event forms part of the Contemporary Art Society’s Centenary Programme. To book please call 0151 478 4697.

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Artist biography

Marcus Coates (b.1968, London) graduated in 1990 with a BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art from Kent Institute of Art and Design, (UK) and in 1993 gained a Post Graduate Diploma at the Royal Academy of Art, (London, UK). His work explores how we perceive human nature. An extensive knowledge and understanding of British wildlife has led him to create interpretations of the natural world and its evolving relationship with society. An aspect of Coates’ recent work sees him as a ‘useful social agent’ or problem solver.

He has performed ‘consultations’ with a variety of clients: Ikebukuru Council, Tokyo, Japan, the Mayor of Holon in Israel, a residents’ housing association in Liverpool and the City Council of Stavanger in Norway. Their problems have ranged from illegal cycle parking, prostitution and the Israeli/Palestinian crisis. Coates’ videos, performances and installations have been shown internationally.

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