WOLVERHAMPTON.- Wolverhampton Art Gallery
presents an exhibition of work by Irish artist Willie Doherty (b.1951). As a child Doherty witnessed Bloody Sunday in his native Derry, and many of his works deal with The Troubles. His video, film and photographic works relate directly to the complexities of living in a divided society and address more universal themes of landscape, memory and identity. Doherty was shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize in 1994 and 2003.
This exhibition presents two single-screen installations, Ghost Story (2007) and Buried (2009), which refer to the events of Bloody Sunday and question the relationship between time, place and memory. These are shown alongside photographic works selected by the artist.
Both Ghost Story and Buried were filmed in Derry, on or near the same disused railway line, now a footpath. The narrator in Ghost Story is haunted by his memories of Bloody Sunday, the incident in which 13 civil rights protesters were fatally shot by members of the British Parachute Regiment during a civil rights demonstration in Derry on 30 January 1972. By contrast, Buried incorporates archival audio sound from Bloody Sunday mixed in with ambient sound recorded during filming.
Doherty presents his videos as installations, in soundproofed spaces that immerse the viewer in the work. He uses techniques and elements from the genres of mainstream and documentary film-making to produce an experience that seems simultaneously real and fictional. The relationship between Dohertys images, words and sound in the titles, as a voice, or as ambient sound is critical to this experience.
Buried is a recent purchase for Wolverhamptons Northern Ireland Collection, showing 26 November - 24 March, is one of the most prestigious collections of its kind. Since the 1980s the Gallery has led the way in collecting works which address the political situation in Northern Ireland and has created a collection of both regional and national significance.
Buried was purchased jointly with the Imperial War Museum in 2010, with assistance from the Art Fund. The piece was commissioned by The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in 2009. The work will be screened for the first time at Wolverhampton as part of this exhibition.