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Willie Doherty, b.1959


Willie Doherty’s work addresses problems of representation, territoriality and surveillance and the language of identity in Northern Ireland. His practice is lens-based – the addition of language either in the form of superimposed text, titles to the works or sound accompaniments to his filmworks is crucial to an understanding of his intentions. Sometimes the words appear to contradict each other, or the image they accompany, challenging the viewer to make up his or her own mind about the true meanings of the work. The ambiguities resulting from differing perspectives on the same material are at the foreground of works such as ‘Protecting/Invading’, an early piece in which the same landscape clearly has different resonances depending on which side of the political divide one identifies with.

MediumBlack and white photograph with text
Dimensions122 x 183 cm (each)
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2003
EditionEdition 3/3
Item NumberIMMA.1621
Out on loan Ghosts From the Recent Past, West Wing, IMMA, 01/09/2020 - 01/03/2021
Image Caption
Willie Doherty, Protecting/Invading, 1987, Black and white photograph with text, 122 x 183 cm (each), Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2003

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

About the Artist

Willie Doherty b.1959

Willie Doherty is a native of 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. Nominated twice for the Turner Prize, in 1994 and 2003, his work has been the subject of many solo museum shows. In 2002 IMMA presented, ‘False Memory’, the first major solo exhibition of Doherty’s work in Ireland. Doherty represented Ireland in the Venice Biennale in 1993, 2005 and 2007. His critically acclaimed ‘Secretion’, was shown at IMMA in 2013.
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