Ritual for Reconciliation by Marcus Coates is a series of prints featuring arresting photographic images of seven animals and birds. Photographed in a variety of locations, each one was printed on a type of rice paper, scrunched up into a fist-size ball, and then opened out to reveal creases and crevasses. An artist with a keen sense of the ridiculous, Coates’s forceful, degrading treatment of the prints perversely gives them new life. A strange beauty emerges through the topographical, almost sculptural, forms. Like a form of portraiture, Coates’ works explore the close relationship between animals and humans – where we often project anthropomorphic aspects of being human on to animals. Coates acknowledges also the fact that wildlife photography often fetishises the human/animal relationship. To him, Ritual for Reconciliation is a form of mediation between the human and animal kingdoms, and a rejection of the hierarchy that assumes humans hold greater status than animals.
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