At the age of 15, Alex Majoli joined the F45 Studio in Ravenna, working alongside Daniele Casadio. While studying at the Art Institute in Ravenna, he joined Grazia Neri Agency and traveled to Yugoslavia to document the conflict. He returned many times over the next few years, covering all major events in Kosovo and Albania.
He graduated from the Art Institute in 1991.
He has extensively photographed in mental hospitals all over the world and in Greece in particular where he documented the closing of the asylum of the insane on the island of Leros, Majoli made an intimate portrayal of this historical event which was made possible thanks to the influence of the anti-psychiatric movement led by Dr. Franco Basaglia, from Trieste, the result is in his first book “Leros”. (west zone 1999 / Trolley/Phaidon 2002).
Since the mid nineties Majoli has traveled to South America on numerous occasions, he photographed a variety of subjects and found the groundwork for his ongoing personal project called Requiem in Samba, an intimate journey into the multilayered Brazilian society.
It was also in South America where he started the project “Hotel Marinum”, which is all about life in harbor cities, although it has extended it’s reach far beyond the borders of South America to harbor cities all over the world. The final goal of Hotel Marinum was to perform a theatrical-visual show. That same year, Majoli began experimenting with cinematography, making a series of short films and documentaries.
After becoming a member of Magnum Photos in 2001, Majoli covered the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and two years later the invasion of Iraq. in 2007 he traveled to the dangerous tribal areas of Pakistan to cover the turmoil there, and covered the devastating short war in Georgia in 2008. More recently he also covered the Arab spring. He continues to document various conflicts worldwide for Newsweek, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and National Geographic.
Majoli, in collaboration with Thomas Dworzak, Paolo Pellegrin and Ilkka Uimonen, developed an extremely successful exhibition and installation Off Broadway in New York in 2004, which travelled to France, Italy, Brazil and Germany. He then became involved in a project for the French Ministry of Culture entitled ‘BPS’, or ‘Bio-Position System’, about the social transformation of the city of Marseilles.
He recently completed and exhibited the piece “Libera Me” which is a highly personal artistic reflection on the human condition and loss, a work reflected in a book trilogy and installation.
Majoli co-authored the Congo project, an independent artistic commission in collaboration with Paolo Pellegrin to freely document contemporary Congo over a period of two years.
In November 2014, Cherry Tree Arts Initiatives, in collaboration with Les Rencontres d’Arles, presented a private preview of the Congo project, with a selection of works presented as a dialogue between the two artists. This private preview was exhibited at Atelier Richelieu in Paris.
Alain Mabanckou, the esteemed French-Congolese author, made literary contributions to the project. The accompanying book has been co-published by Aperture.
The inaugural Congo exhibition will be presented during the 2015 edition of Les Rencontres d’Arles.
Alex Majoli lives in New York.