Loose Ends turns our attention to the passage of time and its powerful, corrosive effect on our hopes, beliefs and sense of identity. Across two screens, Doherty uses the camera and spoken word to focus on the details and textures of two very different locations. Both associated with the 1916 Easter Rising – a key event in the history of Irish independence, the sites are examined in detail through the use of a slow, almost trance-like, zoom. Doherty’s lens absorbs the material evidence of each location today, 100 years after the events of 1916, asking whether a residual response to these events continues to be played out, or how the voices and actions of one generation and the ‘vapours of the past’ resonate in the unconscious of another.
The work was filmed on Dublin’s Moore Street and Donegal’s Gola Island. Moore Street, the site of the Rising’s final headquarters and ultimate surrender, remains strongly associated with the historical event. Gola Island’s connection to the Rising is more tangential and overlooked, though hindsight helps us to connect these places and events, as it was two fishermen from Gola who in 1914 docked at Howth, Co. Dublin and offloaded a consignment of guns and ammunition that would subsequently be used in the Rising. Doherty’s immersive two-screen installation and related photographic diptychs echo some of the dualities, contradictions and connections between the two locations: urban and rural, East and West, ideology and myth, failure and decay, the remembered and the forgotten, the visible and the absent.
Loose Ends is commissioned by Donegal County Council / Regional Cultural Centre in partnership with Nerve Centre, Earagail Arts Festival, Kerlin Gallery and Matt’s Gallery.
It is an ART:2016 Project, part of the Arts Council’s programme as part of Ireland 2016.
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; 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.