Maurice Doherty- Eternal Rotation

Article by Jasper Hamill | 15 Feb 2006
What PETA would make of this exhibition - although I suspect a coat made from a goldfish would barely cover an anorexic ankle - I shudder to think. A minimally composed film with a washing machine chugging, three coloured wires protruding and a goldfish bowl containing a panicked fishy sliding inexorably towards a grisly end on the studio floor, Doherty's work references existentialism and minimal art in a form that is grimly compelling. Dramatically engaging the viewer's empathy and provoking an almost Cartesian attempt to understand the three-second thought process of the doomed fishy, the film amorally symbolises an industrial death machine. The gas chambers of the holocaust are brought to mind as well as the composition of geometric abstraction, both having in common the use of inorganic forms brought to bear upon the human subject. Compelling, disturbing and macabre, it nonetheless ensnared its audience for the twenty minutes before the fish's inevitable demise. I am assured no fish were harmed during the making of the piece. [Jasper Hamill]
Tramway, Until Feb 5