Marcus Coates, Humpback Whale , 2016

At the core of Marcus Coates’ work is a relationship to the unknowable.

From his attempts to become animal to his vicarious experiences on behalf of individuals he seeks to uncover degrees of understanding and knowing, testing our definitions and boundaries of autonomy. Coates devises processes to explore the pragmatism and insight that empathetic perspectives and imagined realities can offer, explicitly addressing a need to create functional and inclusive languages where conventional strategies of understanding and rationalisation prove inadequate.


The form and purpose of his work continues to develop in consideration to society’s needs which he responds to by working with individuals, communities, institutions, organisations and the general public. In this way he sees the role of art practice as a necessary and pragmatic service to counter the limitations of cultural tools. Coates has collaborated with people from a wide range of disciplines including anthropologists, ornithologists, wildlife sound recordists, choreographers, politicians, gallerists, curators, psychiatrists, palliative care consultants, musicians, primatologists amongst others.


Marcus Coates was born in London in 1968. He lives and works in London, UK

Exhibitions and performances include: The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, 2018; Functional Improvisation with percussionist Terry Day, William Morris Museum, 2017; As Above, So Below, IMMA, Dublin, 2017; Ape Culture, HKW Berlin, 2015; The Trip, Serpentine Gallery, London and Implicit Sound, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, 2011; Psychopomp, Milton Keynes Gallery, 2010; Marcus Coates, Kunsthalle, Zurich, Switzerland, 2009; Altermodern, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London, 2009. 




Born 1968, London, UK

1987-90 BA (Hons) Degree Fine Art, 1st Class, Kent Institute of Art and Design, UK

1990-93 Post Graduate Diploma, Royal Academy of Art, London, UK     


Solo Exhibitions/Performances



The Last of Its Kind, Workplace Gallery, London

Ask the Birds, event, Whitechapel Gallery, London

The Sounds of Others, Innsbruck Biennale, Austria



Functional Improvisation, Performance,Marcus Coates and Terry Day, William Morris Gallery, London

Ask the Wood, Performance event, South London Botanical Society/Feral Practice, UK

Sound Reasoning, Performance, Miners Institute, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK



Arrivals/Departures - Nature Calendar, sculpture commission for Utrecht Centraal Train Station, Netherlands.

Arrivals/Departures 16 performances across 12 months: grass snake ritual, salmon ritual, dawn chorus performance, bat choir performance, starling murmuration, migration parade, bird migration conference, fungi fairy-ring ritual, purple emperor butterfly ritual, fox choir performance, snowdrop ritual, woodcock dating ritual, woodpecker drumming performance, glow worm ritual, moth ball, deaths head hawk moth ritual. Utrecht, Netherlands

Questioning the Dead, Performance,Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, UK

Marcus Coates, You Might As Well Ask A Crow - Workplace Gallery, London, UK



Marcus Coates, Kate MacGarry, London

Marcus Coates, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK                               

Dawn Chorus,Fabrica, Brighton, UK



The Sounds of Others: A Biophonic Line, Lovelock Commission with Cape Farewell, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester

Unblocking Services,Performance, The Nuisance of Landscape: Grizedale – The Sequel, Abbotthall, Kendal, UK



185x49x29cm. Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK



Proxy,  Kate MacGarry, London, UK

Marcus Coates, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK

Dawn Chorus Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales, UK

Follow The Voice, Canary Wharf, Screen, London, UK

Vision Quest: a ritual for Elephant & Castle, Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, London

Stories from the Lower World, South Alberta Art Gallery, Canada

Marcus Coates, eva International Biennial of Visual Art, Limerick City, Ireland



The Trip, Serpentine Gallery – Artisit’s Studio, London



Questions & Answers, Kate MacGarry, London

Dawn Chorus, ESPAI 13/Fundació Joan Miró. Barcelona, Spain

Psychopomp, Milton Keynes Gallery, UK



Marcus Coates, Performances, Kunsthalle Zurich, Parallel Space, Switzerland

Marcus Coates, Performance, Mori Art Museum, Academy Hills, Tokyo

A Ritual for Elephant & Castle (with Chrome Hoof), Performance, Coronet Theatre, London

Marcus Coates, Kunsthalle Zurich, Parallel Space, Switzerland

Marcus Coates, Tomio Koyama Gallery,Tokyo, Japan

The Plovers Wing, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK

Marcus Coates, NOMA, New Orleans Museum of Art, USA

Marcus Coates, Newlyn Art Gallery, UK

Follow the Voice, Unitarian Church, Shrewsbury, UK



Marcus Coates, Whitechapel  Gallery, London, UK

Dawn Chorus, Venice Biennale, Italy

Dawn Chorus, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK        

Dawn Chorus, Picture This, Bristol, UK  

Cycle Parking and Prostitution, Rekord Gallery, Oslo, Norway



Journey to the Lower World, Café Gallery Projects, London, UK 



Unbecoming, The Gymnasium, Berwick upon Tweed, UK          



Group Exhibitions/Performances



The Land We Live In, The Land We Left Behind, Hauser & Wirth, Somerset, UK



We are not Alone, British Council Collection, Athr Gallery, Jeddah,

Saudi Arabia

As Above, So Below: Portals, Visions, Spirits & Mystics, IMMA Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

Animal Mirror, International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), New York

Modern Visionaries, Laing Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

I Want I Want, Arts Council Collection, Birmingham City Gallery and Museum



A Fair Land, Grizedale Arts at IMMA Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

This is a Voice, Wellcome Collection, London

Making Nature, Wellcome Collection, London



Station to Station, Curated by Doug Aitken, Barbican, London

Ape Culture, HKW, Berlin

Angels and Doppelgaengers, OK Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria

Diamonds always come in small packages, Kunstmuseum Lucerne, Switzerland

Beastly / Tierisch- Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland

Höhenrausch 2015 - Das Geheimnis der Vogel - OK Offenes Kulturhaus OÖ, Linz

Terrapolis- École Française d’Athènes, Athens



Ghost Nature- College of Architecture and the Arts - University , Chicago, IL

Straight to Camera: Performance for Film- Modern Art Oxford, Oxford

Arche Noah - Über Tier und Mensch in der Kunst- Museum Ostwall im Dortmunder U, Dortmund

The Nuisance of Landscape: Grizedale The Sequel, Abbotthall, Kendal, UK

Private Utopia: Contemporary Art from the British Council Collection, Tokyo Station Gallery, Japan



4th Plinth - Trafalgar Sq, Shortlist Exhibition, St. Martins-in-the-Fields, London, UK

Vocal Folds, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Australia

Super 8, MAM, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dawn Chorus, Todawa Art Festival, Japan

Galápagos Centro de Arte Moderna, Lisbon, Portugal

Between the Late and Early, Royal Scottish Academy RSA, Edinburgh

Three Years at Sea, Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Anchorhold – Meetings with Marcus Coates, Performance, Hai arts and Grizedale Arts, Island of Hailuoto, Finalnd

School of Imagination, film screening, Barbican, London



Uncanny Journey, Archiv trifft Gegenwart - Dienstgebäude, Zurich

The Gathering, Yukiko Kawase Gallery, Paris

SUPER 8, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin

Jarman Award shortlist, Whitechapel, London

Now I Gotta Reason, Grizedale Arts at Jerwood Space, London

Galapagos, Bluecoat, Liverpool. Fruitmarket, Edinbugh, Centro de Arte Moderna, Lisbon

Hors Piste, Pompidou, Paris

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK



3rd Athens Biennale 2011 MONODROME

Super 8, Christopher Grimes Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

The Edge of Reason, KINOKINO Centre for Art and Film, Sandnes, Norway

Synthetic Ritual, Pitzer Art Galleries, Claremont, USA

29th Biennial of Graphic Arts - Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana 

Siobhan Davies Commissions, Bargehouse, London

Double, Double, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK

ROTATE, Contemporary Art Society & Shortlist Media, London, UK

Ffilm, Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea, UK

The Armory Show, New York, USA with Workplace Gallery

Going where the weather suits my clothesfall of light on fabric, Mother’s Tank Station, Dublin, Ireland

Self Portrait as Worcestershire, Movement Gallery, Worcester, UK

The Animal Gaze, Sheffield Institute of Arts gallery, Sheffield, UK

FFILM 3, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea, Wales



From Past to Present, Migration, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile

Transformation, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo 

Adaptation, The Power Plant, Toronto

Europes, Contemporary Culture Festival, Barcelona

Steps into the Arcane, Kartause Ittingen, Kunstmuseum Thurgau, Switzerland

The Perfect Exhibition, Heidelberger Kunstverein, Germany

Artist's Body, Coreana Museum, Seoul, South Korea

Grand National - Art from Britain, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway

From Ritual to Theatre, Ancient & Modern, London

Recent Acquisitions, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool Biennial

Decalogue: Films You Can Count on Two Hands, Winkleman Gallery, New York, USA

17th Biennale of Sydney. THE BEAUTY OF DISTANCE: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age

Art Star 4 Video Art Biennial, Galerie SAW Gallery, Ottawa, Canada



Exposition of Mythology – Electric Technology, Nam June Paik Art Centre, Seoul,

S. Korea

Altermodern, Tate Triennial, Tate Britain, London

Lisson Presents 2, Lisson Gallery, London

Trying to Cope with Things that arent Human, David Cunningham Projects, San Francisco, USA

Living Together, Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain and MARCO, Spain

Ventriloquist, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London

Daiwa Foundation Art Prize, Japan House, London

A Duck for Mr Darwin, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK

Tier-Werden, Mensch-Werden, NGBK Berlin

All Creatures Great And Small, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland

Human Report, TV Broadcast, Channel 9 TV, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Drawing Biennal, The Drawing Room, London



Manifesta7, Trento, Italy

VideoZone, Israeli Video Art Biennial, CCA, Tel Aviv, Israel

This Wild Melody, Performance, Barbican Art Gallery, London

Spirit Caravan, Performance, Hayward Gallery, London

Laughing in a Foreign Language, Hayward Gallery, London

Hamsterwheel, Malmo Konsthall, Malmo, Sweden

Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Barbican Art Gallery, London

Harry Smith Anthology Remixed, CCA, Glasgow

Experimental Marathon, Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland

Micro-narratives: tentation des petites réalités, Musée d'Art moderne de Saint-Etienne, France

Trust in Me, Charles H.Scott Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

Goggle påjorden, Galleri Charlotte Lund, Stockholm, Sweden

The Brotherhood of Subterranea, Kunstbunker, Nuremberg, Germany

Grounded (Now Hear This), AV Festival, Middlesborugh

All my favourite singers couldnt sing, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK

A Lower World, Pleasure Dome, Toronto, Canada

Pastoral Spirit, Performance, Wallspace, All Hallows Church,  London

Tomorrow the Future, (curated by Workplace) Fishmarket Gallery, Northampton, UK



A Heligoland for Souls – Experiment Marathon, Performance, Serpentine Gallery, London

HaPazura, Israeli Centre for Digital Art, Holon, Israel

Dawn Chorus, Performance, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK

100 Ways to Change the World, Performance, Hayward Gallery, London, UK

Pub Shaman, Performance, The Event, The Lamp Tavern, Birmingham, UK

Solo Screening, Artesmundi, Cardiff, UK

Persona Non Grata, One in the Other, London

Micro-Narratives, 48th October Salon, Belgrade, Serbia

Hamsterwheel, Arsenale – Biennale di Venezia 2007, Venice

Dark Mirror, Netherlands Inatitute for Media Arts – Montevideo, Amsterdam

False Witness, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK

Extend your Neck, Café Gallery Projects, London

Metteurs en Scène, Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh

Return of the Seven Samurai, Lucy Mackintosh Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland

Nature Revisited, Tou Scene, Stavanger, Norway

Waterlog, Norwich Castle Museum, Norwich & The Collection, Lincoln, UK



Kamikuchi, Performance, Grizedale Arts, Ikebukuru Tokyo, Japan

Grizedale Arts, Performance, Super Deluxe, Tokyo, Japan

The Mouth of God, Performance, Grizedale Arts, A-Foundation, Liverpool Biennial 06, UK

In Conversation with Mark Wallinger, ICA, London, UK

Emotional Man, CACT Centro d'Arte Contemporanea Ticino, Switzerland

The Nature of Misunderstanding, CACT Centro d'Arte Contemporanea Ticino, Switzerland

AWOL, Bucharest Biennial, Romania

Seven Samurai, Toge, Japan

Sinking Toward Wishy Mountain, The Royal Standard, Liverpool Biennial 06, UK

Radio Shaman, Rogaland Kunstsenter, Stavanger, Norway

Action, FRAC-Provence-Alpes-Cote-D’Azur, Marseille, France

Where the Wild Things Are, DCA, Dundee, UK

The Scarecrow, The Evangelos Averoff-Tositsas Foundation, Metsovo, Greece

Marcus Coates, Market Gallery, Glasgow International, UK

Forsbacka Bruk Art Project, Forsbacka, Sweden

God is a Gallery, Gallery Galuzin, Oslo, Norway



British Art Show 6, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art & Touring, UK

Solo Screening, Marcus Coates' Films 99-2005, Side Cinema, Newcastle, UK

Hilchot Shechenim, Israeli Centre for Digital Art, Holon, Israel

Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 05, Berwick upon Tweed, UK                       

Clerkenwell Film Festival, Various Venues, London, UK                         

Human Nature, Pump House Gallery, Battersea, London, UK    

Faltering Flame, Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, UK



Shrinking Cities, Kunstwerke Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Disguise, Manchester City Art Gallery, UK                                             

The Bigger Picture, BBC Outdoor Public Screen, Manchester City Centre, UK    

Simulation Summit, Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada               

Only a Game, Impressions Gallery, York, UK



Panic Picturesque, CCA, Glasgow, UK                                     

The Human Zoo, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University, UK                    

Mother Nature, Vilma Gold, London, UK           

Further Up In the Air, Shiel Park Housing Block, Liverpool, UK               

Commotion, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK                                               

The Space Between Us, Vane,Newcastle, UK              

Flock, Spacex, Exeter, UK



Out of Season, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK                           

 Here...(Videorom), Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bergamo, Italy  

Videorom, MACRO, Museo Arte Contemporenea, Rome, Gian Carlo Zanutti Gallery, Milan, Italy                                                                                     

Flock, Wysing Arts, Cambs, UK                                    

Local Birds, Allenheads Contemporary Arts, Northumberland, UK



Videorom, Valencia Biennial, Spain      

Dawn Chorus, Channel 4, UK                                                   

OX1, Oscillations and Vibrations, Performance and Sound Festival, Oxford, UK

A Public Auction of Private Works, Kimbolton Castle, Cambs, UK

Chiffchaff, Performance, Compton Verney, The Bandstand, Leamington Spa and Herbert Gallery and Museum, Coventry, UK

GB3CV, Compton Verney, Warks, UK  



The Oriel Mostyn Open, Llandudno, Wales, UK                                     

The Grizedale Show, Grizedale Arts, Cumbria, UK



Evidence of Existence, Kunstraum Siegert, Basel                                  

Good Crop Bad Crop, Grizedale Arts, Cumbria, UK



New Contemporaries, Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester, UK                             


Awards and Notable


2013, Trafalgar Square, London 4th Plinth Shortlist

2013, Winner of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Create Art Award

2013 Jarman Award, shortlist

2009, Winner, Diawa Foundation Art Prize

2008, Paul Hamlyn Visual Artist Award 

1993, Winner, New Contemporaries Prize


Solo Publications



Marcus Coates, works from 1994 – 2014

Co-Published by Kunsthalle Zurich, Milton Keynes Gallery and Koenig.


2014, A Practical Guide to Unconscious Reasoning

                                                            Co-Published by Bookworks and Create

                                                            ISBN: 978 1 90601 261 8


2011, The Trip                                      Published by Serpentine Gallery/Koenig Books

                                                            ISBN 978-3-86560-985-4


2007, Marcus Coates In Profile           DVD Published by Picture This, Essay by Max Andrews, ISBN 978-0-9539872-9-0


2005, Journey to the Lower World         Published by Platform Projects, Essays by  Mark Wallinger, Alec Finlay and JJ Charlesworth,

                                                            ISBN 0 9546831 6 1


2002, Marcus Coates                           Published by Grizedale Books, Designed by Tomato,      Essay by Tracey Warr, ISBN 0 95254550 6 3





2017, Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada

2016-17, Psychosis Unit, South Maudsley Hospital, London

2012, The Gushul Studio, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Canada

2010, St. John’s Hospice, London in association with Serpentine Gallery, London

2009, Tokyo Wonder Site, Tokyo, Japan

2008, Calouste Gulbenkian Trust and Galapagos Conservatiion Trust Artist Residency, Galapagos, Ecaudor

2006, Seven Samurai, Grizedale in Toge and Tokyo, Japan                              

2006, Liverpool Biennial, Stavanger, Norway                                                                 

2003, Further up in the Air, Liverpool, UK                                                          

2002, Berwick Gymnasium, Berwick upon Tweed, UK                                                    

2002, Wysing Arts, Cambridgeshire, UK                                                                        

2001, Allenheads Centre for Contemporary Art, Allenheads, Northumberland, UK           

1999, Grizedale Forest, Cumbria, UK                                                                            

1993, Orchard Gallery, Derry, N. Ireland , UK     




British Council Collection, UK

Arts Council England Collection, UK

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK

The Wellcome Collection, UK

Private Collections worldwide






Art Fairs