Willie Doherty Gets 'Closure' at Ulster Museum

The New Past exhibition offers rare chance to see the Turner Prize nominated artist's 'unsettling' 2005 video installation

Over the next two weeks visitors to the Ulster Museum have the opportunity to watch a seldom shown video art installation by two-time Turner Prize nominee Willie Doherty.

Featured as part of The New Past, Irish Art 1800-2016, an exhibition which spans two centuries of work relating to Ireland, Closure depicts a young woman walking in an enclosed space bounded by high metal walls. An accompanying voiceover describes decay and the visible traces of past violence, coupled with words which convey an unnerving sense of purpose.

The 2005 piece, which continuously loops its 11 minute 20 second runtime, is one of a number of works which helped build Derry-born Doherty's international reputation working in video, in addition to his renown as a photographer.

Work by Doherty was previously exhibited at the Ulster Museum as part of Art of the Troubles in 2014, a major retrospective which had input from over 50 artists. A year earlier Matt's Gallery, London and the Nerve Centre presented UNSEEN, a career-spanning collection which emerged as one of the highlights of Derry's City of Culture 2013 programme.

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National Museums Northern Ireland’s Curator of Fine Art, Anne Stewart, said: 'The Ulster Museum has long admired Willie Doherty in particular the profoundly affecting ways in which his work explores themes of identity, territoriality and surveillance. His work frequently involves the layering of text and image, which creates a sense of ambiguity and plays on the viewer’s prejudices and assumptions.

'Closure is a captivating and unsettling piece of work and, unusually for the artist, centres on the thoughts and perceptions of a female figure.'

Doherty was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 1994 and 2003, and has represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1993, Great Britain at the São Paulo Art Biennial in 2003 and Northern Ireland at the 2007 Venice Biennale.

The loan is courtesy of Willie Doherty and the Kerlin Gallery in Dublin. The New Past has been free to visit since July 2016. It runs until February 12.