Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery

Trish Morrissey: Autofictions

Twenty years of photography and film

Trish Morrissey: Autofictions – Twenty years of photography and film is the first major survey of work by Trish Morrissey in the UK. The exhibition brings together photographs and films spanning over twenty years of the artist’s career and will be the UK premiere of several bodies of work, including Morrissey’s new film Eupnea (2023).

Morrissey came to prominence in the early 2000s among a generation of female photographers working with staged photography, often putting themselves in the picture. Throughout her career, the artist has combined performance, photography, and film to play real and fictional characters. Using herself, and in collaboration with others, Morrissey’s practice explores historic and contemporary ideas about women, family and the body.

Morrissey appears in her photographs and films, sometimes performing all the roles herself, and often chooses characters with whom she identifies. By doing so, Morrissey reflects on her own experiences and those of others, producing a cumulative narrative – or autofiction.

Themes of motherhood and female inheritance run through the exhibition, with Morrissey collaborating with her mother, sister and daughter in several works. Broadly chronological, Autofictions is loosely structured around a narrative about female experience from youth to middle age, and beyond.

The exhibition brings back to Impressions Gallery selections from Morrissey’s seminal photographic series Seven Years (2001-2004) and Front, (2005-2007) both commissioned by Impressions and developed over long periods of time. In Seven Years the artist and her sister re-enact real and imagined scenes from family photographs, their gestures implying hidden narratives and revealing the psychological tensions embedded in the family photograph album. For the series Front, Morrissey approached families on the beach and asked if she could swap places with a female member of the group – usually the mother figure – whilst they pressed the shutter on the camera. The title of the series refers to the literal beachfront (the boundary of land and sea) and the forwardness of infiltrating a family unit. The results of what happens when physical and psychological boundaries are crossed are both compelling and unsettling.

Autofictions also includes the UK premier of several new bodies of work that are the result of research into museum collections and archives. In Rosa, Irma and the Sandman (2016), made during a residency at the Bohusläns Museum, Sweden, Morrissey restaged imagined scenes from the life of twin sisters Rosa and Irma Bohlin. Born in 1915 in the Bohusläns region in Sweden, the siblings only made clothes for women and for their own collection of dolls. Phenomena of Materialisation (2019-2020), based on research into early twentieth century Spiritualism and ectoplasm photographs, draws attention to the uncanny nature of séances and explores the boundaries of self and other.

Morrissey’s most recent film, Eupnea (2023) centres around the connection between breathing and life force, exploring the collective trauma of the pandemic, while also also recalling the anguish of the parent who learns of the fragility of life.

Trish Morrissey: Autofictions – Twenty years of photography and film was originally produced by Serlachius Museums, Mänttä, Finland, curated by Kate Best, with Josephine Lanyon as Consultant Curator (Film). The exhibition has been specially adapted to suit the single gallery space at Impressions Gallery, and is toured as a partnership between Impressions Gallery, Bradford, and Photo Museum Ireland, Dublin.

Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery
Untitled, 2001 from Seven Years, 2001-2004 © Trish Morrissey
Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery
Hayley Coles, June 17th, 2006 from Front, 2005-2007 © Trish Morrissey
Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery
Fig. 04287KEL (TM) G. A. Serlachius Oy’s workers at Loukkusuo peat bog. One Woman. 1943/2015. Mänttä, Finland from Ten People in a Suitcase, 2014-2015 © Trish Morrissey
Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery
Bitzer from The Failed Realist, 2011 © Trish Morrissey
Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery
Fallen Tree from A Certain Slant of Light, 2017 © Trish Morrissey
Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery
Self portrait with Snail, 2020 © Trish Morrissey
Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery
Automatic Writing from Phenomena of Materialisation, 2019-2020 © Trish Morrissey
Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery
Eupnea, (still image), 2022 © Trish Morrissey


  • Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery

    Trish Morrissey

    Trish Morrissey was born in Ireland and now lives and works in the UK. She has exhibited in solo and group shows nationally and internationally and her work is held in public and private collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Michael Wilson Centre for Photography, London; Martin Parr Foundation, Bristol; Gösta Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation, Finland; and the Bohusläns Museum, Sweden. Solo shows include Autofictions: Twenty Years of Photography and Film, Serlachius Museums, Finland (2022); A certain slant of light, Francesca Maffeo Gallery, UK (2018) and Hestercombe Gallery, UK (2017); Face the Collections, Bohusläns Museum, Uddevalla, Sweden (2016) (with Bettina von Zwehl); Trish Morrissey: Photographs and Video, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2010); Front, Impressions Gallery, Bradford (2009); Seven Years, Impressions Gallery, Bradford (2004) and Yossi Milo Gallery, New York (2005).

    Group exhibitions include Eye, Body, TJ Boulting, London (2023); Headstrong: Women and Empowerment, curated by Fast Forward: Woman in Photography, The Centre for British Photography, London (2023); You can call it love, Photolux Festival, Lucca Italy (2022); Self: Image and Identity at Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2015); Touching from a Distance, Serlachius Museums, Finland (2015); Family Matters, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, (2014); and Making It Up: Photographic Fictions, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2013).

    Monographs include Autofictions, Twenty Years of Photography and Film, Serlachius Museums and Parvs, Finland (2022); A certain slant of light, Hestercombe/ICVL Studio (2017); Front, Impressions Gallery (2009) and Seven Years, Impressions Gallery (2004).

    Morrissey’s work also features in several survey publications including Another Country: British Documentary Photography Since 1945 by Gerry Badger (2022); Making It Up: Photographic Fictions by Marta Weiss (2018); Madam and Eve: Women Portraying Women by Liz Rideal and Kathleen Soriano (2018); Photography and Ireland by Justin Carville (2012); Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography by Susan Bright (2010); Vitamin Ph, Survey of International Contemporary Photography by Rodrigo Alonso (2006), and The Photograph as Contemporary Art by Charlotte Cotton (2005).

Our visitors say...

”Fascinating body of work. Thank you for making me think differently about our relationships with the past, present and future”

”Thank you Trish for your characters. One of the best immersive art experiences I’ve seen here. Thanks Impressions for still being here in the heart of Bradford.”

”An interesting collection of photographs and fascinating films…”

”Thought provoking stuff. Straddles the line between art and photography beautifully. Love the presentation of the various collections.”

Trish Morrissey: Autofictions

A fully illustrated hard back publication accompanies the exhibition. With texts in English and Finnish, published by Serlachius Museums and Parvs, 2022, with an essay by curator Kate Best, an essay about Morrissey’s film work by Josephine Lanyon, and an in conversation between the artist and art historian Lucy Soutter.

Available to buy for £35 from Impressions Gallery bookshop from 14 July 2023.

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Trish Morrissey: Autofictions — Impressions Gallery

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