A haunting film work by leading Derry-born artist Willie Doherty opens to the public in the Annex at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
s temporary off-site exhibition spaces in Earlsfort Terrace on Tuesday 21 May 2013. Secretion, 2012, first shown to critical acclaim at dOCUMENTA 13, draws on the possibilities of lost and forgotten narratives located somewhere between recent history and a near future. Shot on location in and around Kassel, Germany, the powerful narrative at times presents echoes of Dohertys earlier work Ghost Story, 2007, pulling personal histories and experience to the foreground of the Kassel landscape. This same landscape served as the backdrop for much of the folklore collected by the Brothers Grimm while they lived and worked in Kassel.
Doherty is interested in the relationship between landscape and memory and in working in locations with untold stories; some forgotten, some half remembered. Many of his works involve looking at specific places, as a means of meditating upon the existence of traces of past events that will not disappear, that resurface and cannot be forgotten. Secretion builds on the possibility of suppressed or hidden stories being embedded within contemporary experience and knowledge. His approach and process is speculative. He often takes an existing image, or other information, as a starting point and then proceeds to see what can be discovered or found. At the same time, Dohertys method is sensitive to the difficulties of working in a contemporary landscape that has been shaped by monumental historical events. To this extent Secretion is informed by his experience of making work that responds to the complexities of the political conflict in Ireland.
Doherty, referring to the film Secretion, has stated; Obviously, my response cannot be emptied of what I already know or imagine about the German landscape and the traditions of its representation however the intention is not to impose a preconceived reading onto the landscape but to respond to what I might find there. Secretion is about the present rather than the past. The work attempts to engage with the landscape as it looks today but also as a repository of the memories of past experiences and our apprehension about the future.
Born in Derry in 1959, Willie Doherty began exhibiting internationally in the early 1980s. Nominated twice for the Turner Prize (2003, 1994), his work has been the subject of many solo museum shows. In 2002 IMMA presented, False Memory, the first major solo exhibition of Dohertys work in Ireland. Other solo exhibitions include, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane (2011); 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); 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). Doherty's forthcoming exhibition, UNSEEN, will present a new film work and a survey of photographic and video works as part of Derry-Londonderry City of Culture 2013.
The exhibition is curated by Rachael Thomas, Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions, IMMA, assisted by Séamus McCormack, Exhibitions, IMMA.