Arts

Major new Willie Doherty exhibition opens at the Ulster Museum in Belfast

Remains by Willie Doherty is part of the new Willie Doherty WHERE exhibition at the Ulster Museum

NEWLY opened at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, Willie Doherty WHERE is a major new exhibition of work by twice Turner Prize-nominated Derry visual artist Willie Doherty.

WHERE offers an overview of Doherty's career in photography and time-based media from the 1980s to the present day. The exhibition focuses on the theme of borders real and imagined, a subject which has consistently dominated Doherty's work: recently, the Derry artist has extended his gaze to contested geographical areas beyond Northern Ireland, visiting the border between the United States and Mexico.

Collectively, the works of the exhibition target the numerous complex political, social and psychological implications of borders and challenge the viewer to reconsider the value and meaning of these fault-lines.

Curated in partnership with Italy's Fondazione Modena Arti Visive, the exhibition includes a newly commissioned video installation Where/Dove ('dove' being Italian for 'where') which uses the British border in Ireland - currently in its centenary year - as a point of reference in understanding internationally divisive issues of national identity, nativism and exclusion.

"I am honoured to present my work at Ulster Museum, Belfast, as part of a dynamic programme of events that look back at the Partition of Ireland and forward to a shared future," comments Doherty.

Unapproved Road by Willie Doherty

"Borders are points of transition, evoking a sense of something inherently unstable, changing, and unfixed. Borders also present the opportunity for positive change, for recognition of other perspectives, for compassion and understanding in the face of adversity and fear."

Willie Doherty WHERE is curated by Anne Stewart of National Museums NI and Daniele De Luigi of Fondazione Modena Arti Visive and was previously displayed in Modena, Italy as part of the British Council's UK/Italy Season.

"The work of Willie Doherty has rarely been exhibited on this scale before and many of the works are being shown in Northern Ireland for the first time," comments Stewart.

"We at Ulster Museum are very proud to support this retrospective. Willie Doherty WHERE explores the theme of borders which certainly will add to its appeal and relevancy in this year as we mark the centenaries of partition and the creation of Northern Ireland, and more globally with migration, the pandemic, Brexit and Trump's presidential legacy which continue to be major discussion points."

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, with texts by its co-curators and art critic Declan Long, available to purchase at the Ulster Museum.

Willie Doherty WHERE is at the Ulster Museum until September 12. Pre-booking online is advised via Nmni.com. Read our interview with Willie Doherty about the exhibition in this Saturday's Weekend.

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Arts