June 9 - July 29, 2016
61 Conduit Street

I first came across Gateshead based Workplace Gallery when they participated in London’s Zoo Art Fair, in the years since they’ve grown their profile featuring in many international Art Fairs. They now have a London base in the heart of town, an unconventional space in which my visits their slightly reminded of the Being John Malkovich half floor, nestled between offices. Marcus Coates is a fascinating artist mostly known for his shamanic performances and video works. For this exhibition he uses private questions posed to him by members of the public to seek possible answers through the resulting works.
— Andy Wicks, London Curator

Workplace London is delighted to announce a presentation of Marcus Coates’ new work in the Mayfair gallery. The work draws from Coates’ ongoing investigation into the role of the artist as a mediator and vicarious agent. 

“Have you brought a question with you? Could you write it down please. I need to understand this as if it were my own. Your question will become my question.”

During a schedule of private consultations in recent months, Marcus Coates has met with individuals from diverse backgrounds, who have each come to the artist with a question that bears a particular significance to them. The questions posed to Coates have taken myriad forms from political and ethical to deeply personal, the only limitation being that they could not be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, nor could the solution be found using an internet search engine. Utilising the gallery space in a manner of a consultation room, Coates has discussed and worked through the questions privately with each individual by using processes and forms of reasoning that rely less on conscious rationalisation and more on imaginative experience to provide insight.

The artwork/answers produced using insights gained from these performative consultations are exhibited here for the returning clients to view and discuss with the artist for the first time. It is important for Coates that this display can also be seen/used by the public in order to test the work’s wider relevance. Coates attempts to not only redefine the role of the artist but also to explore the part played by a commercial gallery space and the audience. By raising questions about the products of artistic activities and the very purpose of art, Coates challenges our intuitions concerning the limits of what it is an artist does, but also what we consider as art.

All Images courtesy of the artist and Workplace, UK.