Trish Morrissey: Autofictions


The first major survey of work by Trish Morrissey in the UK. This 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.

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. This creates a kind of ‘autofiction’ whereby experiences from her own life are explored through the stories of others.

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 ambitious film to date, Eupnea (2022, 12 mins) 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.


Image credit: Bitzer from The Failed Realist, 2011, © Trish Morrissey.

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Trish Morrissey: Autofictions

Type:Art Exhibition

Impressions Gallery, Centenary Square, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD1 1SD
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Opening Times

Season (14 July 2023 - 14 Oct 2023)

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