same old story
11 June – 3 August 1997
Willie Doherty is one of Ireland’s most renowned artists working with photography and video. Shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1994 for The Only Good One is a Dead One (commissioned by Matt’s Gallery), Doherty has exhibited throughout the world and in 1995 won the Glen Dimplex Award, Ireland’s most prestigious art prize.
Doherty’s continuous and probing investigation of the politics and representations of his native Northern Ireland have set him apart as one of the most important artists of his generation. His work is clearly rooted within political discourse and directs attention to the nature of the language by which conflict is represented and communicated in our society.
In a departure for Matt’s Gallery Willie Doherty will occupy both galleries (usually only one gallery is open to the public during an exhibition). Doherty will present a new video installation, entitled same old story, in one gallery and a group of new photographs which reference and extend the imagery established in the video-work, in the other.
same old story marks a distinct progression in Doherty’s use of the moving image. Using two video projectors playing distinct yet parallel sequences, Doherty presents the viewer with a cyclical and diffuse excursion through the physical motifs of a scarred urban environment. The camera traverses bridges, surveys derelict interiors and investigates the fringes of green spaces. Occasionally fleeting glimpses of a figure are provided, but his identity and intention remain ambiguous.
Whereas earlier video works have frequently implicated the viewer in relation to an unseen protagonist through the use of point-of-view camera positions, same old story frustrates the viewer’s expectations of any narrative potential by highlighting mechanisms of projection and identification. Shifts between hand-held camcorder and steadicam footage and the use of long static shots of the city alongside intensely slow tracking shots move the imagery closer to the objective gaze predominant in Doherty’s photography. By interrupting the conventions of mainstream visual narrative, same old story becomes a series of detached but over-familiar scenes of real and fictional violence where the viewer is left to write the script.
A new publication also entitled same old story will be published to coincide with the exhibition. Concentrating on Doherty’s ten works using video and slide projection, many of which have not been documented before, the publication will situate Doherty’s work within the broader sociopolitical and cultural framework. As well as a text by Jeffrey Kastner on Doherty’s work the publication will also feature an essay by Martin McLoone on official government representation of political violence in Northern Ireland, extracts from the artist’s own archive of media coverage of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and many of the artist’s preparatory drawings and plans for his projected works. The artist’s recent bookwork No Smoke Without Fire will also be available.
The exhibition has been initiated by Matt’s Gallery and organised in collaboration with The Orchard Gallery, Derry, and firstsite, Colchester, where it will appear in Autumn 1997 and Spring 1998 respectively.
Further exhibitions at Matt’s Gallery
5 – 30 July 2017
Patrick Goddard, Sally O’Reilly, Alison Turnbull and Willie Doherty
Blackrock Residency 2016
3 May – 2 July 2016
27 September 2013 – 4 January 2014
City Factory Gallery, Northern Ireland
18 April – 27 May 2012
Replays: Selected video works, 1995-2007
23 January – 16 March 2008
23 January – 17 March 2002
The Only Good One is a Dead One
10 November 1993 – 30 January 1994
3 – 26 October 1990