WILLIE DOHERTY - "UNSEEN" - City Factory Gallery, Derry

Willie Doherty (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Curated by Matt’s Gallery, London & Nerve Centre, Derry

Unseen is a major exhibition of photographic and video works by Willie Doherty. 

Doherty was born in 1959 in Derry, 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.


The exhibition will provide a critical overview of Doherty’s photographs and videos made on the streets of his native city of Derry and its surrounding hinterland, presenting new insight into the artist’s working methods and rationale.


Robin Klassnik, Director of Matt’s Gallery, London, who has worked with the artist since 1990, curates the exhibition with Pearse Moore, Chief Executive of Nerve Centre, Derry. Unseen will form a core element of the city’s 2013 Derry-Londonderry City of Culture celebrations.


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 minimize 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 nonfiction.


Unseen will provide a unique opportunity to appraise the photographic and video work of Willie Doherty within the context it was produced. The work will be subjected to a different scrutiny, one that has been shaped by an understanding of how things have turned out but is subject to the fallibility of human memory and like photography itself, cannot be relied upon to provide a full account of what happened.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a 282-page hardback publication, Unseen (designed by Tony Waddingham and published by Matt’s Gallery and Nerve Centre). Colour and duotone photographs will illustrate all of the works Doherty has made in Derry between 1985 and 2013 for the very first time. 


Unseen will feature Jean Fisher’s seminal text from 1990 on Doherty’s early photographic works, Seeing Beyond The Pale and new text, Reflections that provides an overview of how Doherty’s work has evolved and responded to the changing socio-political context in Derry.


The publication will also include new texts by the internationally renowned Irish author Colm Tóibín and the award-winning Irish journalist and critically acclaimed author Susan McKay.


Works included are :

The Amnesiac, 2014, video installation

Remains, 2013, video installation

Ancient Ground, 2011, video installation

Buried, 2009, video installation

Ghost Story, 2007, video installation

Re-Run, 2002, video installation

Blackspot, 1998, video installation

At the End of the Day, 1994, video installation

Selection of photographic works from 1985-2013

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDerry
PublisherCity Factory Gallery
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2013
EventWILLIE DOHERTY - "UNSEEN" - City Factory Gallery, Derry - City Factory Gallery, Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Duration: 27 Jan 20134 Jan 2014

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