Willie Doherty Launches Simultaneous Exhibitions in London and Derry

The City Factory Gallery in Derry~Londonderry is set to host a major exhibition of photographic and video works by Willie Doherty. UNSEEN presents approximately 20 photographic and four video works spanning the career of the two-time Turner prize nominee. The exhibition is being presented at Matt’s Gallery, London and The Nerve Centre, running from Friday September 27, 2013 until Saturday January 4, 2014 at the City Factory gallery on Patrick Street. The exhibition will provide a critical overview of Doherty’s photographs and videos made on the streets of his native city and its hinterland, pres enting new insight into the artist’s working methods and rationale.

Since 1985 Doherty has recorded the way in which the city has been shaped and altered in response to unfolding political events as he explored its streets through the simple acts of walking and looking. The title of the exhibition, UNSEEN, refers to Doherty’s self-conscious method of using the camera in a context where it was imperative for him to avoid undue attention and to minimise the risk of being mistaken for a photojournalist or a tourist. The exhibition will reveal how Doherty has used the techniques of photojournalism, documentary landscape photography and the appropriation of images and texts to create a body of photographic work that explores the fine line between fiction and non-fiction.

UNSEEN examines how the artist evolved the use of image and text in his early black and white works (1985–92) to engage with the complexities of representing a contested landscape. A number of works from Lapse, a series of black and white photographs made in the 1980s and early 1990s will be shown for the first time; Doherty here investigating how these neglected or ‘lost’ images shift between the present (and our knowledge and understanding of) the past.

Doherty’s large colour cibachromes (1993–99), exploit the heightened colour of this particular photographic process to create a body of work that plays with the promise of narrative potential, as the images oscillate unsteadily between the staged and the found, the before and after.

As part of this unique exhibition, Doherty will present a new group of photographs made this year in Derry~Londonderry, providin g an opportunity for the artist to reflect on how the city has evolved and how his own working methods and processes continue to address the problem of photographing the contemporary city.

UNSEEN will showcase a number of Doherty’s most important video installations that place some of Derry’s best-known and more hidden sites as locations for his narratives.

At The End Of The Day (1994) is the earliest video work to be included and highlights Doherty’s interest in the border roads that surround Derry’s west bank and reveals his early use of circular repetition as a formal and metaphorical device within the video works. The exhibition will include Re-Run (2002) a double screen video projection for which Doherty was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2003. Ghost Story (2007), which was produced as part of Do herty’s representation of Northern Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2007 will be shown for the first time in Derry. Remains (2013), a new video work that Doherty has produced in Derry in 2013 will be included in the exhibition, having debuted at Art Unlimited at Basel 2013. Remains was made in a number of locations in Derry that have been used since the early 1970’s to carry out kneecappings, a form of punishment shooting used to control drug use and other forms of so called ‘anti-social behaviour’.

Willie Doherty was born in 1959 in Derry~Londonderry, Northern Ireland. His solo exhibitions include the Dallas Museum of Art (2009), Lenbachhaus, Munich (2007), the Renaissance Society, Chicago (1999), and Tate Liverpool (1998). He has participated in the Biennale di Venezia (2007, 2005, 1993) and the Bienal de São Paulo (2002). In 1994 and 2003, Doherty was shortlisted for the Turner Prize. In 2012 he participated in dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany.

Derry~Londonderry 2013 is a year-long cultural feast of music, dance, theatre, art and much more on the banks of the River Foyle.
The UK City of Culture initiative was announced by the UK Government in 2009, building on Liverpool’s success as European Capital of Culture in 2008, inviting cities to compete for the first UK City of Culture title in 2013.  Derry~Londonderry is the winner of the title for 2013. The other shortlisted cities were Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield.

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