Willie Doherty (b.1959)

Ghost Walk III, 2016

Pigment print mounted on aluminium

106.6cm x 159.8 cm

Government Art Collection


Since the 1980s, Willie Doherty has been a pioneering figure in contemporary art film and photography. His works typically begin as responses to specific terrains from his native city of Derry, and the impact and legacy of the Troubles, complex reflections on how we look at such locations – or on the stories that might be told about their hidden histories. From early conceptual photo-text works – focusing on the impossibility of establishing any ‘objective’ perspective on this territory – to serial works in film and photography that set contradictory points of view against each other, Doherty reviews familiar places from alternative positions. Willie Doherty has exhibited in many of the world’s leading museums, including, to name but a few, the IMMA, Dublin; Tate, London; Dallas Museum of Art; Kunstverein München; 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. He lives and works in Donegal.

This piece, Ghost Walk III, is on loan from the Government Art Collection. It was made by Doherty in 2016 as part of a series of three photographs, related to two key video works ‘Ghost Story’ and ‘Buried’. Both video works were shown at his Fruitmarket show in Edinburgh in 2009. The photographs came later. They are shot in Derry and along the border outside Derry. The following has been recently written by Declan Long about this body of work. ‘For almost four decades, the art of Willie Doherty has been profoundly affected by border landscapes, border atmospheres, border experiences — in Ireland and beyond. Again and again, Doherty has haunted such spaces, wandering along country roads or lingering at suburban margins, exploring locations where, visibly or invisibly, one state connects with another. (Or, put differently: the points where one state is separated from another.) He has been compelled to visit and revisit peripheral zones, condemned to reckon repeatedly with their fraught histories and disrupted geographies.' - Declan Long 'Where are we now?' from Willie Doherty, Where/Dove published to accompany the artist's 2021 exhibition at Fondazione Modena, Milan and Ulster Museum, Belfast.