Dr Paolo Magagnoli

Paolo Magagnoli

BA/MA University of Bologna
MA University College London
PhD University College London


Biographical Details

Dr Paolo Magagnoli is a modern and contemporary art historian who specialises in the history of photography and the moving image. Prior to coming to the University of Sydney, he was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of History of Art at University College London. He has worked as a curatorial assistant for the Department of Photographs of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The American Federation of Arts in New York. His essays have been published in refereed academic journals such as The Oxford Art Journal, Third Text, Philosophy of Photography, Transnational Cinemas, and Academic Quarter. He is also a critic, writing for international art presses and magazines such as Frieze, Art in America, Afterall, and Camera Austria.

Research Interests

Dr Magagnoli's research interests are in modern and contemporary art and visual culture, and he is specifically interested in the works of artists who use lens-based media (photography, film, and video) to understand their relationship with the production of memory and visions of historical difference. His research is committed to historically informed approaches to art theories and critical paradigms that mine the multiple overlaps between art and film history. He is also interested in experimental documentary forms emerging from East Asia and the Global South that question dominant social, political, and economic ideologies.

  • Moving image installation
  • Experimental documentary
  • Avant-garde cinema
  • Histories and theories of media and technology
  • Global histories of photography



  • Magagnoli, P. (forthcoming, 2015). Documents of Utopia: The Politics of Experimental Documentary, Columbia University Press.

Book chapters

  • Magagnoli, P. (2013). "'Let meaning disintegrate': Digital Compression as Revelation in the Art of Sean Snyder". In Alexandra Moschovi ed., The Versatile Image: Photography in the Era of Web 2.0 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2013).

Peer reviewed journal articles

  • Magagnoli, P. (2013). "Capitalism as Creative Destruction: The Representation of the Economic Crisis in Hito Steyerl’s In Free Fall", Third Text, vol. 27, no. 6 (December), pp. 723-734.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "Moulène, Rancière and 24 Objets de Grève: Productive Ambivalence or Reifying Opacity?", Philosophy of Photography, vol. 3, no. 1 (December), pp. 158-175.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "Between Mimetic Exacerbation and Abstraction: Images of Atrocities in Contemporary Art", Academic Quarter, Special Issue on the Aesthetics of Human Rights, no. 5 (December), pp. 89-100.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "The Pull of Violence: Paul Chan’s Trilogy of War", Afterall, no. 31 (October), pp. 26-35.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "European Cinema and Intertextuality: History, Memory and Politics", Transnational Cinemas, vol.3, no.2 (December), pp. 239-241. (Review)
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "Sven Augustijnen's Spectres", Transnational Cinemas, vol.3, no.1 (June), pp. 129-131. (Review)
  • Magagnoli, P. (2011). "A Method in Madness: Historical Truth in Walid Raad's 'Hostage: The Bachar Tapes'", Third Text, vol. 25, no. 3 (June), pp. 311-324.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2011). "Critical Nostalgia in the Art of Joachim Koester", Oxford Art Journal, vol. 34, no.1 (March), pp. 97-121.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2011). "Documentary Fictions: New Concepts of Truth and Representation in the Works of Anri Sala and Hito Steyerl", Object, no. 12 (January), pp. 41-59.

Art presses

  • Magagnoli, P. (2013). "Beatriz Santiago Munoz: The Black Cave", Art in America (June).
  • Magagnoli, P. (2013). "Adelita Husni-Bey: Playing Truant", Frieze (April).
  • Magagnoli, P. (2013). "Light from The Middle East", Camera Austria (March).
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "Everything was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s", Camera Austria (December).
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "Zoe Leonard", Camera Austria (June).
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "Zarina Bhimji", Camera Austria (March).
  • Magagnoli, P. (2011). "Taryn Simon: A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters", Camera Austria (September).

Conference papers

  • Magagnoli, P. (2013). "From Silhouettes to Escraches: Art and the Politics of Memory in Argentina", University of Illinois, History of Art Department, Urbana-Champaign.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2012). "Moulène, Rancière and 24 Objets de Grève: Productive Ambivalence or Reifying Opacity?", Symposium: Photography’s Contested Spaces, Brighton Photo Biennial, University of Sussex.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2011). "Digital Compression/Postmodern Melancholia: The Art of Sean Snyder", The Versatile Image: Photography in the Era of Web 2.0, University of Sunderland.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2011). "Walid Raad’s video art: mock-documentary vs. post-documentary", Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2011). "Reinventing the Digital: Sean Snyder", University College London Department of History of Art.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2011). "Jean-Luc Moulène's '24 Objets de grève': Remembering the 1980s Strikes through the Commodity", Association of Art Historians Annual Conference (AAH), University of Warwick.
  • Magagnoli, P. (2010). "A Method in Madness: Historical Truth in Walid Raad’s 'Hostage: The Bachar Tapes'", Lieven Gevaert Research Centre for Photography, University of Leuven, Belgium.