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In the video installation ‘Empty’, 2006, Willie Doherty has used a series of fixed-frame shots to record the exterior of a disused office building from dawn to dusk throughout the course of a single day. The shots have been edited together to form an eight minute film. The film begins with a shot of the building against the backdrop of a dark sky, there is a single orange streetlight in the foreground, and the distant sound of a helicopter is suggestive of surveillance. The building is utilitarian and unremarkable, it is clad in painted metal siding, which is weathered and peeling due to disuse. The palette of this film is predominantly blue; this is largely due to the building’s own colour, and also the blue sky, either above or behind the edge of the building, or reflected in windows and puddles. Movement is introduced through the rippling reflections of clouds travelling across the sky, trees rustling in the wind and birds flying across the frame of the camera. The soundtrack is ambient: rainfall, birds singing, leaves rustling, traffic, and the occasional car horn, and the distant noise from a helicopter at the beginning and the end.

MediumVideo (colour, sound)
Duration Duration: 8 min
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2006
EditionEdition 1/3
Item NumberIMMA.2000
Copyright For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].
Image Caption
Willie Doherty, Empty, 2006, Video (colour, sound), Duration: 8 min, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2006

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Willie Doherty b.1959

Willie Doherty was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. Basing much of his work around Derry he uses photography, video and sound installations to explore the fallibility of human memory and recollection. Doherty studied at the University of Ulster, Belfast, and began exhibiting internationally in the early 1980s. Doherty was nominated for the Turner Prize, in 1994 and 2003 and represented Ireland in the Venice Biennale in 1993, 2005 and 2007. His film Secretion was shown at IMMA in 2013.

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