Willie Doherty, ‘Buried’ (film still), 2009
Courtesy the artist
Commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh with support from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation
This major exhibition of work by Willie Doherty, one of the most significant artists of our times, brings together a selection of new and existing films and photographs, and includes a new film, Buried, made specially for the exhibition. Rooted in the political and geographical landscape of his native Northern Ireland, Doherty’s work expands out of this context to address universal themes of individual and collective subjectivity and responsibility, creating a new framework within which to think about who we are and how we live.
Doherty’s new film Buried was made and is shown in the context of the artist’s work Ghost Story, first shown at the Venice Biennale in 2007. Both of the works deal with memory, its repression and return, but while Ghost Story is narrated by a male voice piecing together a story of remembered horror, Buried relies on ambient sound to animate its dark, almost gothic woodland imagery. The films influence each other, the recounted memories, dreams and premonitions of Ghost Story seeping into Buried.
Also in the exhibition is Re-Run (2002), a double-screen projection showing a man on a bridge simultaneously running towards and away from the viewer. The film was shot on the Craigavon Bridge over the River Foyle, which literally and symbolically divides the Catholic and Protestant communities in Derry. It is shown together with a new series of photographs taken in Belfast, in which images taken now are joined by several taken in 1988 but never previously shown.
Artist’s Talk: Willie Doherty
Wednesday 17 June, 6.30pm. Free.
The artist in conversation with Fiona Bradley, Director of The Fruitmarket Gallery.
After-images: On Ghost Story and other recent works
Wednesday 6 May, 6.30pm. Free.
Declan Long (Course Coordinator, MA Art in the Contemporary World, National College of Art and Design, Dublin) considers recent developments in Doherty’s work, particularly its relation to the changing society of post-Troubles Northern Ireland and to important tendencies in international contemporary art.
The Grain of the Image: A poetics of future history in some ‘new’ photographs by Willie Doherty
Wednesday 13 May, 6.30pm. Free.
Alison Rowley (Senior Lecturer in History and Theory of Art, School of Art and Design, University of Ulster) talks about Doherty’s recent series of photographs and explores the implications of Doherty’s decision to use black-and-white photography to set up a productive resonance between the politics of Belfast’s past and present built environment, raising questions about plans for the city’s future.
Belfast Exposed: History and Place
Wednesday 20 May, 6.30pm. Free.
Pauline Hadaway (Director of Belfast Exposed) talks about the development of the gallery in the context of the city’s particular historical experience, exploring tensions between political engagement, community and autonomy.
Until 12 July 2009
The Fruitmarket Gallery
45 Market Street
Edinburgh, EH1 1DF
T +44  131 225 2383