Willie Doherty


27 September 2013 - 4 January 2014

City Factory Gallery, Derry

Willie Doherty


Installation:  one HD video projector, one Blu-Ray player, one Dolby Digital 5.1 amplifier, six speakers, one graphic equalizer, High-definition video (colour and sound)


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


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


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 non-fiction.


UNSEEN will present approximately twenty photographic and four video works from throughout Doherty’s career and will examine how the artist evolved the use of image and text in his early black and white works (1985–92) to engage with the complexities of representing a contested landscape.


As part of this unique exhibition, Doherty will present a new group of photographs made this year in Derry~Londonderry, providing an opportunity for the artist to reflect on how the city has evolved and how his own working methods and processes continue to address the problem of photographing the contemporary city.UNSEEN will showcase a number of Doherty’s most important video installations that place some of Derry~Londonderry’s best-known and more hidden sites as locations for his narratives.


Remains (2013), a new video work that Doherty has produced in Derry~Londonderry in 2013 will be included in the exhibition, having debuted at Art Unlimited at Basel 2013. Remains was made in a number of locations in Derry~Londonderry that have been used since the early 1970’s to carry out kneecappings, a form of punishment shooting used to control drug use and other forms of so called ‘anti-social behaviour’.


UNSEEN will provide a unique opportunity to appraise the photographic and video work of Willie Doherty in the context where 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.


UNSEEN is supported by British Council Northern Ireland, Culture Company 2013, Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery fund, Derry~LondonderryCity Council, The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Northern Ireland and with the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.

2013 Derry-Londonderry City of Culture