Monday, August 31, 2009

Marcus Coates: "solo exhibtion" Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland

16 AUGUST – 15 NOVEMBER 2009

What would animals advise? The artist Marcus Coates, who was born in 1968, explores human and social issues in his performances and the resulting video works. He experiments with forms of meaning and consciousness from the animal kingdom as parallel ways of experience and carries out almost shamanistic acts in an attempt to respond to urgent questions. In these performances, for which he dons half or full body costumes, he engages in a dialogue with the mode of being of animals and re-translates their voices into our language. In his first solo show to be staged at a Swiss institution, Coates presents a total of 6 of his video works for two-weekly periods. These ambivalent works oscillate between dark humour, fascination and irritation and are accompanied by notes and costumes used in the performances. Viewers can experience the artist himself in action on three occasions: Saturday, 29 August, 1 pm, as part of the «In Other Words» symposium; Saturday, 5 September, 10.30 pm, as part of the Lange Nacht der Museen programme; and from 20 – 24 October in different daily performances during the opening hours of the Kunsthalle Zürich.

Earlier this year Marcus Coates was invited to create a work by the Center for Digital Arts in Holon (Israel). As is often the case in his work, the artist sought out concrete and urgent societal problems and asked to be allowed to convey to the mayor in a performance the answer provided to one of his questions by the animal kingdom. This “séance” took place with an interpreter in the mayor’s tiny office like a curious kind of meeting situation. The mayor asked the artist for a solution to the problem of violence among the young people in Holon. Coates was dressed in a grotesque costume which combined elements of archaic rituals and civilisation trash with brute pragmatism in an improvisational but also alternative way: he wore a badger as head gear and a track suit whose side stripes reproduced the pattern on the badger’s coat in a kind of mimicry. When the mayor had asked his question, the artist stood up and after a brief period of concentration spontaneously produced a series of incomprehensible, chortling, squeaking and exploding sounds. He then sat down again on his chair and reported to the mayor about his encounters in the animal kingdom, in particular with a plover which steers attackers from its nest by pretending to be injured. Coates interpreted this as a metaphor, as general human behaviour but also deciphered its specific significance in relation to the political conflict in Israel.

The artist has also acted out this kind of knowledge transfer from the non-human to the human consciousness in numerous other performances. In Radio Shaman (2006), for example, he discussed answers from shamanistic performances, which he had staged in problematic locations in the city, on the radio. The questions raised here concerned poverty, prostitution and the increasing spread of HIV which have become matters of urgency for the small community due to the high number of Nigerian immigrants there. In Journey to the Lower World (2003) he presented a performance in the style of a Siberian ritual for the residents of an Liverpool tower block largely populated by elderly people that was under imminent threat of demolition.

Embedded in topics relating to ornithology, zoology, anthropology and philosophy as well as the special relationship between culture and nature, which in England is rooted in the folk tradition (singing in bird voices, for example), Marcus Coates asks questions as to what constitutes and moulds both our individual and cultural consciousness by seeking to experience other forms of consciousness. As part of this his works associate, discuss and hybridise numerous artistic and societal phenomena which anticipate, suspect, fear and intuit extended forms of knowledge by transcending the concept of the subject and reality.

Bruce Nauman stated in a neon work that “The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths”; in 1974 Joseph Beuys spent three days with a wild coyote in a room in the René Block gallery in New York which had been transformed into a cage (Coyote, I Like America and America Likes Me, 1974); our fairytale world is full of half-human and half-animal creatures; the esoteric scene dismisses no possibility of the existence of extended forms of experience; sports people adopt numerous mental techniques and dictators and other politicians have repeatedly sought the advice of spiritual counsellors and clairvoyants and consulted mentors with access to other forms of knowledge.

Marcus Coates’s scenarios of the confrontation of being human and animal and his use of shamanistic practices leave the truth content of experience in abeyance in an artful, fascinating and irritating way. They unfold at the interface between imagination, facts and play and challenge the cultural systems of belief and control with ambiguous humour.
Films included in the exhibition: Kamikuchi (2006); Radio Shaman (2006); Rice Ritual (2006); Journey to the Lower World (2004); Human Report (2008); The Plover's Wing, A Meeting with the Mayor of Holon, Israel (2009).

Kunsthalle Zurich thanks:
Präsidialdepartement der Stadt Zürich, Luma Stiftung


CONCERT: Friday, 28 August, 11 pm
XXX MACARENA: With John Miller, Jutta Koether, Tony Conrad and friends

SYMPOSIUM and PERFORMANCE: Saturday, 29 August, 1 – 4 pm
The symposium «In Other Words» is the opening event of a series centering around artistic practice that use language as an integral medium. Organised by Kunsthalle Zürich in collaboration with the Milan based curatorial project Peep-Hole and the Istituto Svizzero di Roma.
1 pm: Q&A Performance by Marcus Coates.
2.30 pm: Podium discussion with Vincenzo de Bellis, Claire Fontaine, Jutta Koether, John Miller, Bruna Roccasalva, Beatrix Ruf and Falke Pisano.

LANGE NACHT DER MUSEEN: Saturday, 5 September, 7 pm – 2 am
You ask questions, we provide the answers. Art education programme and performance.
7 – 10 pm: «All that glitters is not gold». Workshop for children and adolescents with Brigit Meier, Art Education. (For children from 6 years of age accompanied by an adult.)
10.30 pm: Q&A Performance: You ask questions, Marcus Coates provides the answers.

Friday, 9 October, 6.30 pm

An evening of artists’ moving image work by the Jarman 2008 awardee Luke Fowler, and the Jarman Award 2009 shortlist: Anja Kirshner & David Panos, Simon Martin, Lindsay Seers and Stephen Sutcliffe. Presented by Film London and Channel 4, the Jarman Award recognises artists’ image work which, like Jarman’s, resists conventional definition, encompassing innovation and excellence.

Saturday, 10 October, 3 pm

James Mackay, producer, artistic executer and close friend of Derek Jarman, presents artist films from London between 1976 and 1986. Punk, New Wave and “New Romanticism” formed this decade and the post-structuralist opulent-voluptuous or serial films by Steve Farrer, Cordelia Swann, Roberta M. Graham, Cerith Wyn Evans, Dick Jewell and Richard Heslop.

PERFORMANCE WEEK with Marcus Coates: 20 – 24 October, during opening hours
Please keep up with the current information on our homepage:

CONCERT: Thursday, 29 October, 8 pm
The ensemble für neue musik zürich plays works by Giacinto Scelsi, Earl of Ayala Valvai (1905-1988)

A catalogue to accompany the exhibition will be published in early 2010 in cooperation with the Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes (UK).

Matt Stokes: "SEE THIS SOUND. PROMISES IN SOUND AND VISION" Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz, Austria


28 August 2009 - 10 January 2010

Artists today take an engagement with the sound of this world for granted. The former predominance of the visual has meanwhile been replaced by a multifaceted interplay of image and sound. Even though contemplative quiet still largely predominates in museums, sound, experimental composition, audiovisual media and pop culture have become central references for visual art in the 20th century.See This Sound documents this development from the perspective of visual art and refers to the respective contemporary discussions and promises.

In eight separate sections, See This Sound exhibits a number of important milestones and socio-historical reference points, in connection with which artists have worked with sound and composition and reflected on the medial relationship of image and sound.
Starting from the filmic sound visualizations of the 1920s - so-called Eye Music - it traces the topos of traversing genre boundaries in the 1960s and questions psychedelic trance machines and multimedia sound environments about their social-political potential. The illusion of a "natural" interplay of image and sound, for instance in Hollywood movies, is countered by works that disclose the discrepancies of this purported synthesis, all the way to the loss of sound and the power of speech. In addition, there is a special focus on the local production conditions of sounds (industrial cities and industrial sounds), and on sound as a medium of institutional critique. Astonishing promises have always been associated with the interplay of image and sound, with the crossover of visual art and music, in short: with "intermediality" - and sometimes still are up to the present, if we think of the idea of an "expanded visual culture" in the era of YouTube.

Laurie Anderson, Martin Arnold, Atelier Hopfmann (Judith Hopf und Deborah Schamoni), John Baldessari, Gottfried Bechtold, Jordan Belson, Manon de Boer, George Brecht, Mary Ellen Bute, John Cage, Ira Cohen, Tony Conrad, Kevin Cummins, Josef Dabernig, Jeremy Deller, E.A.T. - Experiments in Art and Technology, Einstürzende Neubauten, Viking Eggeling, VALIE EXPORT, Oskar Fischinger, Andrea Fraser, William Furlong, Kerstin von Gabain, Jack Goldstein, Douglas Gordon, Andrew Gowans, Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Granular Synthesis, Brion Gysin, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Gary Hill, Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack, Heidrun Holzfeind, Derek Jarman, Jutta Koether, DIE KRUPPS, Peter Kubelka, Louise Lawler, Bernhard Leitner, LIA, Alvin Lucier, Len Lye, George Maciunas, Christian Marclay, Norman McLaren, Jonas Mekas, Michaela Melián, Robert Morris, Christian Philipp Müller, Wolfgang Müller, Max Neuhaus, Carsten Nicolai, Pauline Oliveros, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Nam June Paik & Jud Yalkut, Norbert Pfaffenbichler & Lotte Schreiber, Rudolf Pfenninger, Adrian Piper, Mathias Poledna, Hans Richter, Jozef Robakowski, David Rokeby, Constanze Ruhm / Ekkehard Ehlers, Walter Ruttmann, Peter Saville, Michael Snow, Imogen Stidworthy, Matt Stokes, Nina Stuhldreher, Atsuko Tanaka, Test Department, TeZ, Throbbing Gristle, Tmema (Golan Levin und Zachary Lieberman), Ultra-red, Steina Vasulka, Ryszard Wasko, Peter Weibel, Hans Weigand, Herwig Weiser, James Whitney, La Monte Young, La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela.

The comprehensive project See This Sound. Exhibition | Web Archive | Symposium is realized in close collaboration between Lentos Art Museum Linz, Linz 09 and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research as an exhibition, research, and multimedia project.


Artistic and Scientific Lead:
Stella Rollig and Dieter Daniels
Curator: Cosima Rainer
Assistant-Curator: Manuela Ammer
Project Coordination: Veronika Floch
Scientific Collaboration Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Media.Art.Research: Sandra Naumann
Exhibition Designer: Nicole David
Production Management: Magnus Hofmüller

The exhibition contribution Site.Sound.Industry was curated by Christian Höller and Petra Erdmann.
Audio contributions by Matthias Dusini &Thomas Edlinger.

"See This Sound. Promises in Sound and Vision", edited by Cosima Rainer, Stella Rollig, Dieter Daniels, Manuela Ammer at Walther König, Köln. With articles by Manuela Ammer, Dieter Daniels, Diedrich Diedrichsen, Helmut Draxler, Matthias Dusini & Thomas Edlinger, Heidi Grundmann, Christian Höller, Gabriele Jutz, Liz Kotz, Cosima Rainer and Stella Rollig. Numerous colour pictures, 320 pages, in German and English. Price: € 32,-.

"See This Sound. Audiovisuology I. An Interdisciplinary Compendium of Audiovisual Culture", edited by Dieter Daniels and Sandra Naumann. With 35 essays by international experts.
Online available under:
Printed Version at Walther König, König (in preparation).

Monday, August 03, 2009

Matt Stokes: Shortlisted for Northern Art Prize 2009

The Northern Art Prize 2009 has announced the shortlisted artists for this year's award, supported by Logistik, Leeds City Council, Arup and Leeds Metropolitan University.

They artists are Pavel Bϋchler, Nick Crowe and Ian Rawlinson,Rachel Goodyear and Matt Stokes.

They were selected by a panel of judges which includes Patricia Bickers (Editor, Art Monthly), Richard Deacon (Artist), Paul Hobson (Director, Contemporary Art Society), Peter Murray (Director, Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and Tanja Pirsig-Marshall (Curator of Exhibitions, Leeds Art Gallery).

An exhibition of work by the shortlisted artists will take place at Leeds Art Gallery from 27 November 2009 - 21 February 2010. The winning artist will be announced on 21 January 2010, scooping the £16,500 prize money whilst each of the runners up will receive £1500.