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Dr Olga Smith

Olga SmithMy research expertise lies in the field of contemporary art, and within that I focus on photography and lens-based media. As a Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study and History of Art Department, I am developing a new research project. It is dedicated to the study of representations of natural and built environments in contemporary photographic practices in Europe, with reference to issues such as national identity, urban expansion and anthropogenic ecological change.

I am a graduate of the University of Cambridge, where I undertook my undergraduate and graduate studies. My PhD was dedicated to the study of contemporary photography in France, and is currently prepared for publication. In conjunction with this research I held visiting scholarships at the École normale supérieure Paris Ulm and National Institute for Art History in Paris. Prior to coming to Warwick, I was a recipient of a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Humboldt University of Berlin and have held the positions at the University of St Andrews and Tate Britain/Tate Modern.

My work has been published in Art History, History of Photography, Fotogeschichte, Photographies and Nottingham French Studies. I also write on contemporary art as a critic and for exhibition catalogues.

Areas of Research

  • Contemporary art
  • Art in France
  • Photography and lens-based media
  • Representations of natural and built environments
  • National identity and cultural memory
  • Museums and Spectatorship

Publications (selected)

Edited Books
Guest Editor, Special Issue ‘Photography and Landscape,’ Photographies (forthcoming in 2019).

Co-edited with Peter Collier and Anna Elsner, Anamnesia: Private and Public Memory in Modern French Culture (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009), 359 p.

‘Making Visible: Representing Violence, Resistance and Everyday Life on the Margins,’ Photographies, Special Issue ‘Critical Issues in Photography Today’ (forthcoming in vol. 11, June 2018)

‘Authorless Pictures: Photography in Christian Boltanski’s Early Work (1969-1975),’ Art History, Vol. 40, No. 3 (June 2017), pp. 634–657

‘Plaines et platitudes: les réinventions du paysage photographique dans l’œuvre de Jean-Marc Bustamante et Joachim Brohm,’ in Pierre-Henry Frangne and Patricia Limido (eds), Les inventions photographiques du paysage, du XIXe siècle à nos jours (Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2016), pp. 49-59

With Dina Gusejnova, ‘Die Ästhetik des Zastoi. Boris Mikhailov als Fotograf des letzten sowjetischen Jahrzehnts,’ Fotogeschichte, No. 136, Vol. 35 (Summer 2015), pp. 43-51

‘The Spaces of Containment: Valérie Jouve’s Urban Portraits,’ Nottingham French Studies, 53.2 (July 2014), pp. 155-168

‘Pierre Huyghe’s Travels with Edgar Allan Poe,’ in Jörg von Brincken, Ute Gröbel and Irina Schulzki (eds), Fictions/Realities. New Forms and Interactions (München: Martin Meidenbauer, 2012), pp. 85-100

‘“A hollow image of the person”: Objects of Memory in the Art of Christian Boltanski,’ in Olga Smith, Peter Collier and Anna Elsner, Anamnesia: Private and Public Memory in Modern French Culture (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009), pp. 117-130

Exhibitions, Talks and Art Journalism (selected)

‘Women Rebels, Women Poets.’ Talk with Marta Gili, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, 24 May 2017

‘Dafna Talmor: Constructed Landscapes, Cloud Negatives’, in Dafna Talmor, Constructed Landscapes (London: Loose Joints, 2017)
‘Interview with Philippe Parreno’, Art Monthly, Issue 402, December 2016
‘Exhibition Review: Berlin Round-up’, Art Monthly, Issue 396, May 2016
‘Exhibition Review: A Handful of Dust’, Art Monthly, Issue 393, February 2016
‘Constructed Landscapes.’ Roundtable discussion with Christiane Monarchi, Dafna Talmor, Tom Lovelace and Corinne Silva. Photofusion, London, 30 March 2017
‘Relating to Landscape.’ Artist’s talk with Hans-Christian Schink, in conjunction with the exhibition Longing for Landscape: Photography in the Anthropocene, Tieranatomisches Theater, Berlin, 26 October, 2016
‘Joachim Schmid: Other People’s Photographs.’ Within the framework of Il Presente. Fotografia: Festival Internazionale di Roma, MACRO Museum, Rome, 2016
‘Photographs/Pictures,’ Chair and organiser of a roundtable discussion with Jean-Marc Bustamante, Joanna Lowry and Tamara Trodd, Tate Modern, London, 22 June 2013

Professional associations

Member, AICA (International Association of Art Critics)
Member, AAH (Association of Art Historians)
Member and co-founder, Ph Photography Research Network
Board Member, Focales