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Shanghai: Isabel Muñoz


Five or six years ago, I discovered thanks to Christian Caujolle a few prints of Shaolin Monks by Isabel Muñoz. I remember the sudden inexplicable feeling of euphoria at the sight of these monks dancing and flying. To a fan of "wuxia" novels (1) that I was, it was like a dream come true. Shortly after, in a cinema watching Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, I was seized by the same emotion from the first minutes of the film, the wonders of technical prowess have made it possible to reproduce on the silver screen what was only wild imagination in our mental screen while reading wuxia novels; now these characters are actually evolving in total weightlessness on walls and roofs and on tops of bamboo groves. But unlike cinema, Isabel’s photography, in its splendid sobriety, made no use of faking or special effect, and this renders it all the more precious and fascinating to me. I was especially fascinated by this direct confrontation of photographic realism with almost dreamlike scenes, magical, in the magician sense for the uninitiated.

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