Although Willie Doherty shot all the images from LAPSE between 1985 and 1993 this is the first occasion that he has chosen to exhibit them. During this period the artist was producing his seminal body of large-scale black and white photo/text works, which announced his arrival on the international stage. The photographs in LAPSE relate directly to the early black and white works era. However, Doherty has not attempted to embed text within these images, instead their titles acknowledge Doherty’s particular historical use of text.
Doherty is concerned with how these neglected and, to some extent, lost images oscillate between the present and the past. Unlike the rest of the artist’s oeuvre these works have not been initially exhibited at the same historical time as their making. As a consequence, they have been subjected to a different scrutiny, one that has been shaped by an understanding of how things have turned out, but one that cannot provide a full account of the forgotten traumas and injustices that have been shrouded in the fog of memory.
Born in Derry in 1959, Willie Doherty began exhibiting internationally in the early 1980’s. His practice has consistently addressed the representation of landscape, territoriality, history and the rhetoric of identity; exploring their relationship to memory and subjectivity and showing such issues as contested and conflicted. Much of his early photographic work incorporated text and since the mid-90's he has increasingly worked in film and video installation. For more than 20 years Doherty’s career has played a crucial role in the development and importance of ‘the documentary turn’ in international contemporary art.
Nominated twice for the Turner Prize (2003, 1994), Doherty’s work has been the subject of many solo museum shows including The Speed Art Museum, Kentucky (2011), Institute of Contemporary Art, Toronto (2009), Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2009), Lenbachhaus, München (2007), Kunstverein, Hamburg (2007), Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City (2006), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2002). Renaissance Society, Chicago (1999) and Tate Gallery, Liverpool (1999). Group shows include Manifesta 8 (2010), 3rd Auckland Triennial (2007), Venice Biennale 2007, 2005 and 1993, Reprocessing Reality, MOMA PS.1, New York (2006), Istanbul Biennale (2003) and the Carnegie International(1999).
In 2011 Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane presented a survey show 'DISTURBANCE' which premiered his acclaimed new video work ‘Ancient Ground’. The exhibition was accompanied by a new publication and is currently on show at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne. Doherty will present a new work at dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel in June 2012. In 2013, his video work will be the subject of a survey exhibition at the Museo de Arte of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá.