Trish Morrissey, Self-portrait with snail, 2020 © Trish Morrissey
Trish Morrissey, Self-portrait with Snail, C-type print, 2020 © Trish Morrissey

Press release 18 January 2022

Trish Morrissey: Autofictions
Twenty years of photography and film

Mid-career survey of celebrated Irish artist to open at the Serlachius Museums, Finland

The first major survey of work by Trish Morrissey will be opened on February 5th at the Serlachius Museums, Finland. This extensive exhibition brings together photographs and films from over twenty years of the artist’s practice and premieres a new body of work, including her most ambitious film installation to date, made especially for Serlachius Museums. 

Morrissey, who has been based in the UK since 1990, 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, she has combined performance, photography and film to develop and play real and fictional characters, using herself and collaborating with others to explore historic and contemporary ideas about women, family and the body.

Because she appears in her photographs and films, sometimes performing all the roles herself, and chooses characters with whom she identifies, Morrissey’s work also contains an autobiographical element, creating a kind of ‘autofiction’ where 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, the exhibition is loosely structured around a narrative about female experience from youth to middle age, and beyond.

An extensive exhibition that fills the former headquarters 

Selections from Seven Years (2001–2004), perhaps Morrissey’s most influential work, will be shown at the Serlachius Museums. In these photographs she 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. 

Amongst Morrissey’s best-known projects is Front (2005–2007). For these carefully staged photographs, Morrissey persuaded women in family groups on the beach to swap places with her, so she posed as the woman, while this unknown woman pressed the shutter on the camera. The resulting photographs resonate with memories of the artist’s childhood family holidays, and also allowed the artist to ‘try on’ motherhood when she was pregnant with her first child.

Morrissey’s photographs have been seen in the Serlachius Museums before. She made Ten People in a Suitcase, for which she was shortlisted for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, for the 2015 exhibition Touching from a Distance. For this project, which asked artists to respond to Mantta, Morrissey chose photographs from the Serlachius Museums’ photographic archive. She was intrigued by the many portraits of townspeople, often unnamed, and restaged ten of these photographs, meticulously recreating the scenes. Now these people ‘return’ to the Gustaf Museum, the former headquarters of the paper company that dominated the life of the town in the mid 20th century. The photographs are shown alongside objects from museum’s collection that also appear in the original photographs or were used as props for Morrissey’s versions.

Morrissey returned to Mänttä in preparation for the present exhibition, to research the life stories of Sigrid (Sissi) and Ruth Serlachius, the first and second wives of Gösta Serlachius, managing director of Gösta Serlachius Paper Company and founder of the Serlachius Fine Arts Foundation. Elements of both these women’s lives, interwoven with Morrissey’s own biography, will be brought together in Eupnea, a new, immersive film work that explores themes of loss, longing and desire and the trauma of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The exhibition Trish Morrissey: Autofictions will be in the Serlachius Museum Gustaf from 5 February 2022 to 8 January 2023. The exhibition is curated by Kate Best, with Josphine Lanyon as Consultant Curator, Film.

The accompanying publication of the exhibition with an interview between the artist and Lucy Soutter and texts by Kate Best and Josephine Lanyon will be published by Parvs Publishing Ltd Summer 2022.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the exhibition is opened virtually. The video opening the exhibition will contain an interview of the artist, introduction to the show, among others. See the video here:

Press releases and photographs:

For further information and image requests, please contact: 
Susanna Yläjärvi, Information Officer of the Serlachius Museums, tel. +358 50 560 0156

The Serlachius Museums are open:
in the winter season, 1 September–31 May, from Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am–6 pm.
in the summer season, 1 June–31 August, every day 10 am-6 pm

Visiting addresses:
Serlachius Museum Gustaf, R. Erik Serlachiuksen katu 2, Mänttä
Serlachius Museum Gösta, Joenniementie 47, Mänttä

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