© Willie Doherty

Non-Specific Threat III (Intolerable Devotion), 2003
c-print mounted on plexiglas, 61 1/2 x 72 in, 156 x 183 cm

Willie Doherty
Non-Specific Threat

"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 image above) 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 often-unknown person or persons behind a perceived violent or terrorist threat. 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.

In the exhibition space kilchmann plus will be on view a group exhibition by gallery artists (Rita Ackermann, Francis Alÿs, John Coplans, Zilla Leutenegger, Teresa Margolles, Santiago Sierra, Melanie Smith, Andro Wekua and Artur Zmijewski.)

Exhibition: January 24 - March 6, 2004
Gallery hours: Tue/Wed/Fri 12 - 6pm, Thu 12 - 8pm,
Sat 11am - 4pm

Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Limmatstrasse 270
CH-8005 Zürich
Telephone +41 1 440 39 31
Fax +41 1 440 39 32
Email info@kilchmanngalerie.com