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Willie Doherty

No Return


This play is a reflection on the (im)possibility of accepting diversity and the other. The fragmented body of the neoplasm—the fruit of unstable conditions—overcomes barriers, loves and denies itself and others, wanders around, forgetting its profession. It frequently and with pleasure divides, goes through dangerous palpation, questions the possibility of contact with the experience of the other. Poorly brought up but very successful, it invites us to a trans-species transition.

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Shot on location in Braddock, No Return is set in a fictional future where the planet is slowly dying as a consequence of pollution and climate change.

No Return continues Doherty's interest in the relationship between landscape and memory, and in working in locations that bear the traces of contested histories and narratives, some forgotten, some half-remembered. Many of his works [Ghost Story (2007)Buried (2009)Remains (2013)] have evolved from investigating specific places in his native Northern Ireland as a means of meditating upon the existence of traces of past events that will not disappear, those that resurface and cannot be forgotten.

Doherty's approach and process is speculative. He often takes an existing image or other information as a starting point and then proceeds to see what can be discovered or found in the location. At the same time, Doherty's method is sensitive to the difficulties of working in a contemporary landscape that has been shaped by specific local circumstances and larger historical events.

No Return is concerned with the present rather than the past or the future. The work attempts to engage with the landscape as it looks today, as a repository of the memories of past experiences and as a witness to the ravages of socio-economic change. In looking at the present, No Return imagines and visualizes our shared apprehension about the future.

Duration: 15 minutes

Curated by John Carson


so it is: April 7 - August 6, 2017
About The Artist

Willie Doherty's career in photography, audio-visual installation, and film has been primarily focused on how his native city of Derry and its environs have been distinctly defined, demarcated and controlled according to the political and sectarian divisions in Northern Ireland. With imagery that is haunting and elegiac, he conveys a sense of foreboding in the Northern Irish psyche, as formed by the history and experience of British colonialism and resultant sectarian strife.

More from this Artist

More from this Exhibition

Untitled (tyre fire)

Further Progress (Champagne and Argonne)

They Dropped Like Flakes, They Dropped Like Stars

Embroidery Frieze (The Politicians)

The Precariat

The Souvenir Shop



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