The concept of borders is the focus of Willie Doherty’s first solo exhibition in Italy, as he sets out to make viewers question their convictions on their value and meaning while revealing their complexity and political, social and psychological outfall. And it is no coincidence that all of this comes at a point in history when this topic has returned to the forefront, not only in the United Kingdom since it left the European Union, repainting the border with Ireland, but also at global level, in this era of migrations and pandemics. The exhibition, curated by Daniele De Luigi and Anne Stewart, is co-produced by FMAV and National Museums Northern Ireland, who will host it in turn at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.
The exhibition, part of “Being Present”, the British Council UK/IT Season 2020, offers an overview of Doherty’s career through photographic works and videos focusing on the topic of boundaries which date from the 1990s up to a new video installation commissioned for the occasion. The artist’s work stems from experiences in his native town of Derry. Situated at the western extreme of Europe, on the boundary between the United Kingdom and Ireland, Derry is a place whose historical and political complexity shapes the way that the landscape is experienced, physically and psychologically. And it is with immense subtlety that Doherty addresses topics which touch on the legacy of colonialism and conflict, and the fault-lines, both real and perceived, that divide individuals and communities.