Isabel Munoz

Isabel Munoz tirelessly and with great interest studies the human body, its beauty, grace and plasticity, photographing dancers, wrestlers, warrior monks, toreadors. Platinum developments and extra large formats are favourite techniques used in order to strengthen her message of passion for the body as a means of approaching the study of human beings.
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Isabel Munoz was born in 1951 in Barcelona. At the age of twenty, she moved to Madrid, where in 1979 began to study the profession of photographer.

Munoz is like a sculptor in the photographic space. The composition of her photographs is always clearly built, which gives viewers the opportunity to see the smoothness of the body, muscle tension and skin texture. In her photographs every scar, tattoo, unevenness, roughness, a drop of light and shadow or any other effect on the skin becomes a brush and paints, and the body turns into a canvas.

The theme of physicality and dance is very close to the photographer, for several years Munoz was photographing flamenco dancers and published a book devoted to this passionate dance. In the Capoeira series you can see the harmony of body in movement.

Traveling from Andalusia to Egypt and from Turkey to Rome, Munoz photographs - emphasizing their severity - sculptures that were contemporaries of civilizations and myths: from the Cyclades to the Baroque, from Arab influence to the echoes of Orientalism. If you put together the photographs taken by Munoz in the Mediterranean basin, one feature of photography as a means becomes apparent - its connection with the sculpture. A sculpture that engages in dialogue with light.
Series "El Amor y el Éxtasis" (Love and Ecstasy) takes a completely different approach to transcendent love by focusing on the whirling dervishes of Sufi Islam in Syria, Iraq and Turkey, and on other ecstatic religious celebrants the world over who seek the divine by voiding the self. These mystical ceremonies are held in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
Isabel photographed the followers of the Al Qadiriya fraternity who make incisions with razor blades, pierce cheeks and tongues, and torture bodies during religious practices. The continuation of the series was the study by the photographer the theme of body transformations and tattoos.

Isabel Munoz is one of the most prominent contemporary photographers in Spain. She published 10 books, tons of articles and twice won the World Press Photo Award. In 2010 a gold medal for her contribution to art from the Spanish Ministry of Culture was added to her numerous awards. Works of Isabel Munoz can be found in the European House of Photography (MEP) in Paris, the New Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Houston Museum of Modern Art and in private collections.
Author Anna Laza
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