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Phnom Penh Photo 2012 –Isabel Muñoz


While exploring dance in all parts of the world, Isabel Muñoz was especially taken with Cambodia. There, she came across the most precise encounter between bodies and architecture, between dance and sculpture. Just as she had done earlier for the tango and flamenco, she demanded to have the best performers as her subjects and thus succeeded in bringing out in her pictures, by precision framing, a meeting with the extreme demands of the dancers movement, right to the millimeter, rhythmical, always dead on. At Angkor, she also scrutinized the movements and bodies on which costumes are sewn right on the skin, as in the bas¬reliefs that prove that the positioning of the hands or lifting of a leg were determined centuries ago. Precision, an eye for detail, rigor, exactingness and elegance are the bywords of the dancers and the photographer; they play by the same rules. And in these fixed images that translate the rhythm and the movement going beyond the paradoxical, it is a skill that goes far beyond the technique that makes it possible to capture and convey the emotions and the poetry. And when they are produced as platinum prints—a practice going back to the dawn of photography—these images take on a sensuality that gives us the illusion of closing in on the skin texture and the folded silk material hugging the body. More than a description or a documenting, but with rare precision, this collection is in tune with the spirit of Khmer dance.

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