Sunday, 24 January 2010

Willie Doherty - Buried

Willie Doherty - Buried - seen here
We spent Saturday in Swansea and made a visit to see the Willie Doherty exhibition at the Glynn Vivian Gallery. The show hosted the two video pieces Ghost Story (2007), first shown at the 52nd Venice Biennale, and Buried (2009), commissioned by and first shown at The Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh.

The work is relentlessly dark touching as it does on the artist's own experiences of the The Troubles in Northern Ireland and in particular his witnessing of Bloody Sunday from the window of his family home aged 12.

"Buried is a show about landscape and memory, about repression and resurgence and the difficulties inherent in representing contested and bitterly painful events in a post-conflict situation. It steps away from the simple accretion of historical events or factual detail, instead pursuing oblique and poetic routes toward a truth, not of the grand sweep of history but the intimate and painful price it exacts on the individual psyche." seen here

Both films are deeply effecting. Buried was made as a companion to Ghost Story and seems to focus the intensity of the events alluded to in Ghost Story. The high quality of the film making lends it an exquisite depth and clarity. It is beautiful and poetic, and at the same time dank and scrubby. There is a supernatural resonance in the aesthetic, a sense of expectation and narrative tension which is not, ultimately satisfied. The glimpses of detritus and residue within the wooded space we witness are ambiguously horrific.

Here is an excellent review of the show.

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