Past Exhibition

2017 Art Sonje Project #3: Willie Doherty – Remains

July 8 – August 6, 2017

Art Sonje Project Space

2017 Art Sonje Project #3: Willie Doherty – Remains

Art Sonje Center presents 2017 Art Sonje Project #3: Willie Doherty – Remains, the first solo exhibition of Willie Doherty in Korea, from July 8 to August 6, 2017. Living and working in Derry, Northern Ireland, Willie Doherty mainly works in photography and video installation. The exhibition is co-organized by Art Sonje Center, Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the British Council as part of the UK/Korea 2017-18. In conjunction with the exhibition, a special screening and artist talk will be held on July 7.

Widely recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s most important contemporary artists, this solo exhibition by Willie Doherty comprises video and photographic work from the Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is the result of an exciting collaboration between Art Sonje Center, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the British Council and continues until the 6th of August.
The title of the exhibition is taken from Remains, the video work produced in 2013 in Doherty’s native Derry, Northern Ireland. The city has been intrinsically linked to his work since the early 1980s when he came to prominence on the international arts scene.
Remains was made in a number of locations in Derry that have been used since the early 1970s to carry out kneecappings, a form of punishment shooting typically used by paramilitaries to control petty crime or reprimand other forms of ‘anti-social behaviour’.
Despite the relative calm achieved since the signing of the Belfast Peace Agreement in 1998, paramilitaries still seek to exert control over the lives of those who live in some of the most economically deprived areas. Against the backdrop of sectarianism and the threat of a return to violence, a strict code of behaviour is enforced on the population by self-appointed organisations that operate outside of any legal structures. In 2012, a number of parents were forced to present their children for punishment shootings.

The first reason why it is a duty to tell is surely as a means of fighting against the erosion of traces, we must keep traces, traces of events, because there is a general trend to destroy.
— Memory and Forgetting, Paul Ricoeur

Remains builds on Doherty’s interest in the relationship between landscape and memory and in working in locations that are contaminated with untold stories; some forgotten, some half remembered or unacknowledged. Doherty uses the camera to examine these locations in almost forensic detail. Long tracking shots serve as the backdrop to one man’s story as he recounts a lifetime’s experience of incidents of violence and control. His telling of these events is punctuated by the image of a burning car, a motif that first appeared in Doherty’s body of work in the early 1990s. Photographs from this series of work, such as Incident and Border Incident, are also included in the exhibition.

Incident and Border Incident demonstrate the manner that our understanding of photographs is informed by the context in which they are viewed and how language supplements the image in the form of title and/or caption. Both images are large, detailed, close-ups of burnt out cars abandoned in the landscape. The straight on camera angle in the photographs adds to the sense that we are being presented with a factual description. Both works are given a political charge because of the use of the words ‘border’ and ‘incident’ in the titles, immediately evoking the violence of Northern Ireland’s recent past and suggesting that we are looking at the aftermath of conflict. However, one of the two images depicts a car that has simply been illegally dumped. Typically for Doherty’s work the signposts offered by the titles misdirect rather than guide.

Willie Doherty has exhibited in many of the world’s leading museums, including the CAM Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Museum De Pont, Tilburg; IMMA, Dublin; SMK, Copenhagen; Fruitmarket, Edinburgh; TATE, London; Modern Art Oxford; Dallas Museum of Art; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Neue Galerie, Kassel; Kunsthalle Bern; Kunstverein München; Kunstverein Hamburg and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris. He was nominated twice for the Turner Prize and has participated in major international exhibitions including Documenta, Manifesta, the Carnegie International, and the Venice, São Paulo and Istanbul biennales.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art is delighted to collaborate with Art Sonje Center and the British Council through the loan of these works by artist Willie Doherty from the Museum’s Collection. Doherty is one of Northern Ireland’s foremost artists and has been a pioneering figure in contemporary art film and photography since the 1980s. This exhibition is part of UK/Korea 2017–18, which is a year-long cultural programme organised by the British Council and its partners to share the UK’s innovation and excellence in the arts and creative industries. It is also an exciting new initiative promoting cultural dialogue and new communities of practice that intersect cultural, national and institutional settings.

IMMA furthermore welcomes the opportunity to participate in the programme, and to engage with these international partners. IMMA is also gratified to be able to provide new audiences for contemporary artists from the Irish national collection of modern and contemporary Art.
— Johanne Mullan

About the Artist
Willie Doherty (b. 1959) is a native of Derry, Northern Ireland. Basing much of his work around Derry he uses photography, video and sound installations to explore the fallibility of human memory and recollection. Doherty studied at the University of Ulster, Belfast, and began exhibiting internationally in the early 1980s. Nominated twice for the Turner Prize, in 1994 and 2003, his work has been the subject of many solo museum shows. Doherty represented Northern Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2007. His work has been presented in prestigious international group exhibitions, including dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany, 2012; Manifesta 8, Murcia, Spain, 2010; 51st Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2005; 8th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey, 2003; 25th Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2002; and Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, PA,1999.

About Art Sonje Project
Newly inaugurated in the latter half of year 2014 on the ground floor space of the museum after its renovation, “Art Sonje Project Space” is a platform for temporary and free artistic endeavors. To replace the museum’s commercial facilities such as cafe and restaurant with an expansion of education and project space, Art Sonje Center invited an architectural project to transform its ground floor public space. While succeeding the spirit of the “Art Sonje Lounge Project (2009–2014)”, more emphasis has been put on the openness of the space and introduction of various programs, such as talks and workshops.

This event is part of the UK/Korea 2017–18 official programmes.
UK/Korea 2017–18 presents a year-long cultural programme that place particular emphasis on emerging artists and reaching new audiences. We have chosen five themes which we feel are vital to a dynamic creative economy. These are City-to-City, Transformation and Innovation through Digital Technology, Diversity and Inclusion, Creative Entrepreneurship and Creative Learning. Throughout the year we will be sharing the UK’s innovation and excellence. We will also be developing creative practices by fostering new approaches and pushing boundaries through artistic collaborations between artists and arts organisations from both countries.

Screening & Talk: Willie Doherty

– Date: 3.30 p.m. Friday 7 July 2017

– Venue: B1 Art Hall, Art Sonje Center

– Programme Schedule:

3.30 – 4.30 p.m. Video Screening: Ghost Story (2007, 15 min.), Buried (2009, 8 min.), The Amnesiac (2014, 10 min.), Secretion (2013, 20 min.)

4.30 – 5.30 p.m. Artist Talk

5.30 – 6.00 p.m. Q&A

July 8 – August 6, 2017
Art Sonje Project Space
Willie Doherty
Organized by
Art Sonje Center, Irish Museum of Modern Art
In Association with: the British Council , Curated by: Johanne Mullan