Call of the Wild

Marcus Coates at Milton Keynes Gallery

Notting Hill—home to Portobello Road Market and a considerable number of London’s more well to-do residents—is an unlikely hotbed of Shamanic practices. But this is where British artist Marcus Coates—enrolled on a weekend course—was inducted into the tribal tradition of Shamanism, in which practitioners sing and chant to enter ecstatic trances and commune with a world populated by guiding spirit animals. In Coates’s work, he devises and performs his own rituals—which range from performances in animal skins, taxidermy and antlers (Journey to the Lower World, 2004) to ingenious video pieces that transform the human voice into birdsong (Dawn Chorus, 2006). His first retrospective will open on January 15 at Milton Keynes Gallery.

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