Willie Doherty

Non specific threat

January 23 - March 6, 2004

NON-SPECIFIC THREAT is a new exhibition of colour photographs and a single screen video installation by Willie Doherty. Doherty was born in 1959 in Derry, Northern Ireland. This will be

the fourth exhibition of the artist in our gallery.

A group of large-scale photographs depict a young man (see invitation card) in a variety of

nondescript urban settings by day and by night. He emerges from dark alleyways and stands

defiantly at street corners. The photographs adopt the conventions of portraiture but deny us

any factual details about the subject. He exists as a type whose purpose and whose social and

economic status we are invited to speculate about.

The man in the photographs is an actor who was chosen by the artist because of his appearance

in a television drama where he played the role of a menacing and violent character. The actor did

not alter his physical appearance for the television role or for Doherty’s photographs and the

ambiguity between the presence of the subject/actor and the fictional character is central to

the artist’s intention.

 Since the early 1990’s Doherty’s work has been concerned with how we characterise the oftenunknown

person or persons behind a perceived violent or terrorist threat (see They‘re all the

Same , 1991). Our desire to recognise and scrutinise the "face of evil” is framed by our

experience of how different governments and the media have historically represented and

continue to define the terrorist. Such attempts to locate and understand a threat or an enemy

necessitate the creation of a character who is beyond reason, outside of civilised society and

who becomes known to us as a fusion of real and fictional figures.

The single screen video installation Non-Specific Threat, 2004  shows the same man standing

motionless in a dark, deserted warehouse. The camera makes a tight 360° pan around the man

allowing us to see him from every angle. He is totally available for our scrutiny as the camera

moves slowly around him. As we examine him we hear a voiceover, an internal monologue, where

he expresses explicit and veiled threats and attempts to describe the nature of his relationship

to the viewer.

The single screen video installation Pilgrimage, 2003  co-produced by Artur Zmijewski and Pawel

Althamer will be on display in the newly finished video room.

In the exhibition space kilchmann plus will be on view a group exhibition by gallery artists (Rita

Ackermann, Stefan Altenburger, Francis Alÿs, John Coplans, Fabrice Hybert, Teresa Margolles,

Adrian Paci, Santiago Sierra, Costa Vece, and Andro Wekua.)