The art of Willie Doherty (b. 1959), one of Northern Ireland’s most important artists, joins history, memory, and language into an enveloping experience. This catalogue features two bodies of Doherty’s work: Ghost Story, a tensely beautiful 15-minute media work based on landscape and memory, and a selection of photographs of the borderlands between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Arising from the region’s Troubles, Doherty’s art is nonetheless universal in effect and can be seen independent of any specific context. Charles Wylie’s essay deals with how Ghost Story evokes a mind at work trying to recall unsettling things, and the impact of memory on the present. Through vivid imagery, Doherty creates a cinematic tale of quiet suspense whose evocative text (written by Doherty and published here in its entirety) is narrated by the actor Stephen Rea. Critically acclaimed at the 2007 Venice Biennale, Ghost Story is paired with eleven similar yet distinct large-scale color photographs from the 1990s that in still form powerfully depict the famed Irish landscape as a site of unease amidst lyrical beauty.