John Duncan: Boom Town 

  June –
July 2002

Image by John Duncan from the exhibition Boom Town at Gallery of Photography Ireland, June 21 – July 24 2002.

The Gallery of Photography is proud to present a solo exhibition of new work by the Northern Irish artist, John Duncan.

Boom Town was made over the last four years in Belfast, where massive economic investment in the post cease-fire period has produced a rapidly changing skyline and city space. In the many building sites throughout the city, developers’ billboards are emblazoned with optimistic architectural views of what is about to be constructed. The artist systematically photographed these sites, documenting their portrayal of the future city.

The newly emerging city is further explored in an accompanying set of images. Here we see trees being delivered by lorry, pillars being constructed, foundations being tested, and a grove of palm trees hinting at a paradise just beyond the developer’s hoardings.

Set against this is the artist’s experience of moving from the more affluent South of the city to North Belfast. Here he was confronted by the sectarianism that continues to mar this area. In response he photographed the aftermath of riots and uncovers the residue of the continuing tensions in the city.

The various strands that make up Boom Town confirm John Duncan’s reputation as one of the leading exponents of the new colour documentary in Ireland.

About the artist: Born in Belfast in 1968, John Duncan studied photography at Gwent College, Newport and Glasgow School of Art. He has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in Europe. His work is included in the collections of Galerie Le Lieu, Lorient France; FRAC Bretagne France; University of Salamanca, Spain; and the BT New Media Collection. John Duncan is co-editor of Source, the quarterly photographic review. He is represented by Galerie Francoise Knabe, Berlin and Zelda Cheatle Gallery, London.