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Melissa Magnuson

MA work


The project: Mississippi is a multi-layered documentary fiction project where fragments of stories, memories, facts and current events are interwoven. A new narrative is constructed – a composite that blurs the past and present state of Mississippi.


  • MA Degree


    School of Humanities


    MA Photography, 2017

  • Fragments of stories, memories, facts, fiction, half-truths and current events are interwoven, adding layers to construct a haunting version of time and place.

    I find global issues of landscape, power and identity a recurring theme in my practice, immersing myself in locations that have included an industrial town in Canada, an Apache community in Arizona and for the work shown in the 2017 RCA degree show - the deep South in Mississippi where I grew up.

    As I explore socio-political backgrounds, stories emerge from historic references that become a foundation to inform the contemporary visuals in my work. Mississippi was the place I called home, the people and symbolism within the landscape were all familiar to me. I approached this project using my familiarity to delve deeper into the precarious balance in the relationships between people, place, position and power. My position as an outsider quickly assumed dominance as the work developed a thread.

    Using large and medium format film cameras as well as video, and engagement in an open dialogue with people in the communities occupied the core of the process in constructing the work. An amalgam of their stories as well as my own and all competing elements involved blur the past and present states of the narrative. The work produced could be present day or fifty years ago as questions arise about the status quo with an undercurrent presence of a historical narrative.

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Fine Art and History of Art, Goldsmiths University, 2015
  • Exhibitions

  • Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2017, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art . Gateshead UK & BALTIC 39 . Newcastle upon Tyne UK & Block 336, London UK – Group Exhibition, Upcoming - 2017–2018; Off Print, Tate Modern, London UK – Group Exhibition, 2017; It's not about the land, Hoxton Arches, London UK - Solo Exhibition, 2016; Off Print . Tate Modern . London UK - Group Exhibition, 2016; RCA Secret Dubai 2016 . Alserkal Avenue . Dubai UAE & Art Dubai . Dubai UAE - Group Exhibition, 2016; RCA Secret 2016 . Gulbenkian Galleries . London UK - Group Exhibition, 2016; Subject Matter . Dyson Gallery . London UK - Group Exhibition, 2016; Fine Art Work in Progress . Royal College of Art . London UK - Group Exhibition, 2016; Spaces Contexts Habitats . Pilazzo Biscari . Catania Italy - Group Exhibition, 2015; Degree Show . Goldsmiths University . London UK - Group Exhibition, 2015; Symbiosis. St.James Church . London UK - Group Exhibition, 2014; #TALKTOEACHOTHER . Hotel Elephant. London UK & Art Basel . Miami USA - Group Exhibition, 2014; The Middle . The Rag Factory . London UK - Group Exhibition, 2014
  • Awards

  • Degree Show, Goldsmiths University Warden’s Purchase Award for Supertourists, 2015
  • Publications

  • Green, Meg, 'Goldsmiths’ artists build their future in Brick Lane', Cassone, Section Perspectives, June 2014