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

 Journey to the Lower World (still)

  • Journey to the Lower World (still)Marcus Coates Journey to the Lower World (still) 2004 Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
  • Journey to the Lower World (film still)Marcus Coates Journey to the Lower World (film still) Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

    Journey to the Lower World is presented on 2 screens in the Walker Gallery, 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.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?” I like the sense of aburdity revealed in the juxtaposition of the ritual and the residents of the estate who observe in bemusement. Humour in the piece is carried out with the upmost sincerity as Coates seeks to address concerns within the community, which confirms that art can be both questioning and well-grounded and still display elements of playfulness and humour.  

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