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Posted 18 November 2013

Review of Willie Doherty’s Unseen

CCA’s Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh have written a review of Willie Doherty’s retrospective Unseen for Art-Agenda, currently on display at the City Factory Gallery in Derry.

“Unseen,” the title of Willie Doherty’s first retrospective in his hometown of Derry, refers to a complex set of impossibilities at the core of his photographic and video practice. The exhibition is accompanied by a substantial, three-hundred-page catalog in which Robin Klassnik, the director of Matt’s Gallery in London and co-curator of the exhibition, asserts that “Unseen” refers to Doherty’s need to make work in such a way as to remain out of sight, unremarkable to the all-seeing eyes of the British military that has so famously surveilled Northern Ireland and Derry. “Unseen” also points to a central feature of the artist’s work: his early photographs and later videos offer us carefully crafted tensions and contradictions that hide as much as they reveal about the gloomy countrysides and bleak cityscapes they depict. After having been exhibited across the world, these imagesof and from Derry are brought back to their place of origin on an unprecedented scale. As a result, the derelict city streets and haunted country lanes that are implacable for a non-native of the city are now presented to audiences with first-hand knowledge of these spaces and their untold stories.

Read the full review on Art-Agenda’s website.