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Nathan Coley


Nathan Coley (b.1967, Glasgow, Scotland) is interested in the idea of ‘public’ space, and his practice explores the ways in which architecture becomes invested – and reinvested – with meaning. Across a range of media Coley investigates what the built environment reveals about the people it surrounds and how the social and individual response to it is in turn culturally conditioned. Using the readymade as a means to take from and re-place in the world, Coley addresses the ritual forms we use to articulate our beliefs – from hand-held placards and erected signs to religious sanctuaries. Whether highlighting in illuminated letters the testimony of a New Yorker recalling the World Trade Center attacks or erasing the names of the dead from their gravestones, his work frequently turns the specific into the general, thereby testing its function as a form of social representation.


From Here

Mann Island, Liverpool

A landmark commission by Liverpool Biennial and Culture Liverpool


Nathan Coley's major new installation From Here is a co-commission between Liverpool Biennial and Culture Liverpool and is the latest in a series of high-profile outdoor artworks on the waterfront following 2018’s Liverpool Mountain by Ugo Rondinone.



The text-based light sculpture is made up of the words ’From Here, All the Worlds Futures, From Here, All the Worlds Pasts’. Inspired by the writing of German philosopher, Walter Benjamin, and acknowledging the curator, Okwui Enwezor’s influential exhibition ‘All The World’s Futures’ at the Venice Biennale 2015, Coley’s expansion of the phrase presents a new meaning that reinforces the power of Liverpool as a place, its history and speaks to the hope for the future.



Full Biography (PDF)

Nathan Coley lives and works in Glasgow and was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2007. Recent and important solo exhibitions include Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2017), Parafin, London (2019 and 2017) New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury (2016), House Festival, Brighton (2015), Pier Arts Centre, Orkney (2013), Kunstverein Freiburg (2013), Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver (2012), ACCA, Melbourne (2011), Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2004), Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisbon (2001) and the Westfalischer Kunstverein, Munster (2000).


Notable group exhibitions include ‘Stories for an Uncertain World’, Edinburgh Art Festival (2019), ‘Possibilities For a Non-Alienated Life’, Kochi Muziris Biennale (2018), Arhus2017 – European Capital of Culture (2017), ‘Actions - The Image of the World can be Different’, Kettle's Yard, Cambridge (2018), ‘Age of Terror - Art since 9/11’, Imperial War Museum, London (2018), ‘Glow’, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2016), ‘Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick’, Somerset House, London (2016), Bruges Triennial (2015), ‘Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland’ (2014), ‘You Imagine What You Desire’, 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014), ‘Mom, Am I Barbarian’, 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013), ‘Tales of Time and Space’, Folkestone Triennial, UK (2008), ‘Days Like These’, Tate Triennial of Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain (2003), and in the ‘British Art Show 6’, BALTIC (2005).


Nathan Coley’s works are included in many public and private collections worldwide.

Selected Works


27 September – 16 November 2019


Nathan Coley

10 February – 18 March 2017

© Parafin Ltd 2021