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.