Erin Coates | The Pact

28 February – 16 March 2019


The Pact explores elements of physical endurance and the body in space. The video operates as a double-portrait of two women – the artist and her real-life climbing partner. Set inside a dark void of indeterminable dimensions, the scale and shape of the space are defined by the movements of the women’s bodies. The figures perform a tessellation of gestures as they weave in and around the dark space, forming symmetrical patterns with their movement. There is a slow centrifugal motion and mounting physical and psychological tension between the two climbers. The extreme physical exertion of their actions is visible in the straining muscles, as sheets of blood fall through the space and a sense of abstract horror slowly rises. To endure the space and remain suspended within it, the figures are completely reliant on one another.


Erin Coates is a Perth-based artist working across film, sculptural installation and drawing. Coates’ practice examines our relationship with and within the spaces we build and inhabit, focusing on the limits of our bodies and physical interaction within given environments. The film genres of body horror and the Australian Gothic permeate Coates’ practice, and her works are shown in both galleries and film festivals in Australia and abroad. Drawing on her background as a rock climber, her recent work has examined built space and the urban environment through intense physical interventions. A cross-disciplinary approach defines much of her practice and she has collaborated with engineers, architects, sound artists and scuba divers.


Coates’ work has been included exhibitions in major Australian institutions, including in the survey exhibition The National: New Australian Art, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 2017.  Most recently she exhibited in the Hiroshima Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan. Coates is currently working towards a solo exhibition Dark Water with Anna Nazzari at Linden New Art in Melbourne in 2019. Coates hold a Masters of Fine Art from the University of British Colombia, Canada. Her work is held in the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, City of Perth Collection and the National Portrait Gallery of Australia.

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