Silvia A. Malagrino


MFA, University of Illinois at Chicago



929 West Harrison Street, 106 Jefferson Hall

Silvia Malagrino is an artist and filmmaker, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She lives and works in Chicago and is a Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to becoming a visual artist, in her native country, Argentina, Malagrino studied Literature and Modern Languages at the Universidad de Buenos Aires and graduated from L’Alliance Française de Paris in Buenos Aires as a professor of French and French Literature. She moved to the United States in 1978 and received an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1987.

Malagrino’s artistic practice is fluid and, essentially, interdisciplinary. She works in different media—photography, digital video, language, light and sound not only to represent issues of historical and cultural interest but also to explore in depth the fancies, the intricacies, and the idiosyncrasies of the personal imagination. Currently, her work includes the creation of short video pieces that are poetic explorations of time, space, and memory; and the direction and production of independent experimental documentaries through Libremedia, her own production company. In her early work, Malagrino dealt with the realm of memories and dreams. She has used them as the subsoil of her art to establish connections between fact and fiction, and to reclaim subjectivity as an integral part of historical testimony—since she believes that much of one’s interior world is the product of one’s social existence.

During the ’90s she created site-specific installations in which she interrelated digitally processed media. She juxtaposed groupings of photographs, large murals, and written texts that were independent of each other but that were designed to call forth a series of correspondences between history and memory, human action and accountability. Later on, her work became more interactive with the gallery space. She used photographs, video, and light design to explore spatial, temporal, and conceptual relationships between media and viewers. She experimented with media, narrative, and photographic representation, while addressing issues of particular global histories. In 1998 she took a leap of faith and became involved in the research, direction and production of her first feature length poetic documentary, Burnt Oranges (2005)—about the long-term effects and repercussions, personal and social, of Argentina’s 1970s state terrorism, and the global necessity to defend human rights and democratic values. The film, widely acclaimed, was produced with a Creativity Grant in Media, National Endowment for the Arts (2004) with the sponsorship of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Lucius and Eva Eastman Grant (2004), among others. Burnt Oranges has received awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle (2005), and two awards in an international competition: Aurora Platinum Best of The Show Award in the category of Cultural Documentary, and the Aurora Gold Award for Directing (2007).

Malagrino has exhibited and screened her works nationally and internationally at numerous institutions, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and the Gene Siskel Theatre, Chicago; the Palais de Glace National Art Gallery, the Centro Cultural La Recoleta, and the Centro Cultural de la Cooperacion Floreal Gorini, Buenos Aires, Argentina; the Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia; the Biennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy; the Ateneo of Madrid, Spain; The Rochester Institute of Technology, NY; the Museum of Latin American Art, Organization of the American States, Washington DC; and many others. Her works are included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Pensamiento Latinoamericano, Buenos Aires, Argentina; La Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France; and the Fundaçao Athos Bulçao, Brasilia, Brazil, among many others.

In 2010 Malagrino received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship from the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women & Gender in the Arts & Media, Columbia College, Chicago. In Addition, Malagrino received a nomination for the Infinity Award, International Center for Photography, New York, NY (1998), and she was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Midwest Grant (1994). Other grants and fellowships include, but are not limited to, the Illinois Arts Council Visual Artist Fellowships in Photography and Media Arts (1987, 1989, 1983, 1996, 2000, and 2005); grants from the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Chicago: Community Assistance Grant (1990, 1995, 1996, 2008), and the International Travel Grant (1996); In 2005 Malagrino received the Lorenzo De Medici First Prize Award in New Media at the 5th Edition of The Florence Biennale. Recently, she was awarded with the State of Illinois Distinguished Artist award for her contributions to Art and Society. Over her years teaching at UIC, she received several Campus Research Board Grants (1994, 1996, 1997, 1999), the Silver Circle Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1996, the Council of Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award (CETL) in 1998, the Great Cities Institute Scholars’ Fellowship in 2000 and in 2012 she received a Council of Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award (CETL) in the Teaching Recognition Program.

Courses Taught