Kehrer Verlag: Cristina Dias de Magalhães: Instincts. Same but different

Early childhood experiences, captured through the eyes of the artist’s twins

The birth of Victoria and Helena changed everything. They are now part of my world, of my life, of myself. We evolve side by side united by a unique bond. I started Instinct. Same but different as a silent observer of the explorations and encounters of this budding dyad. I know now that this was the process of redefining myself as a woman, a mother and an artist.

“Instinct. Same but different” reads like a diary in which Cristina Dias de Magalhães visually and emotionally deciphers her family environment. She rediscovers the moments linked to early childhood, and she establishes a dialogue between the human and the an animal where instinct prevails and guides, endowed with symbolism, his diptychs reveal a silent bond created through moments shared and felt together, reminding us that we are born into a complex world where instincts are the basis of survival.

Excerpt from Christian Gattinoni’s essay:

The author’s text guided me to his favorite place: the Geneva Museum of Natural History, an institution that houses many dioramas and sets for these photographs. Initially, they exclusively represented the Swiss regional fauna, but since the 1990s they have expanded to include animals from all continents.(…)

The institution’s notice tells us that the museum’s mascot is a two-headed Greek tortoise named Janus, in reference to the ancient god. This two-headed turtle, born in the institution’s incubators in 1997, broke a longevity record. The three-year-old twins love visiting the other mounted animals, which are as common a subject of maternal photography as the twins themselves.

In all the diptychs, the face-to-face is played at child height. The image is tightly framed, expressing an intimate and playful distance. In dioramas, the animal often faces the audience or is staged according to its best profile. This gives rise to confrontations such as a bird seeming to pay attention like a big brother to the two little ones, and a hare curiously witnessing the outpourings of tenderness between mother and daughter echoed by the long ears of a blanket. The photographic conventions of the portrait are here applied to the animal kingdom, while the camera surprises the twins in close-ups of their gestures, figures of a circle that repeats itself constantly, never in the full light of their faces. Alongside the bodies of mounted animals and those of two little girls, a third corpus features children’s drawings. Here again, Cristina is part of an artistic tradition that dates back to the avant-garde creators of The Almanac Blaue Reiter, published in Munich in 1912. They were the first to collect and publish children’s drawings.

Cristina Dias de Magalhaes (born in 1979 in Luxembourg) is an artist photographer who explores the human body and being through different ways of observing and perceiving. In recent years, his photographic work has been exhibited in France, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Tunisia and China. . She also holds a doctorate in fine arts from the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

“Instinct. Same but different” was presented at the Imago Lisboa Photo Festival 2020, at the Center d’Art Nei Liicht, and during the European Month of Photography 2021 in Luxembourg.

Cristina Dias de Magalhães: Instincts. Same but different
Texts of Dominique Baque, Christian Gattinoni, Francoise Poos
Edition Kehrer, 2022
Designed by Kehrer Design (Loreen Lamp)
Hardcover, Swiss binding, 16.5 x 22.6 cm, 96 pages, 53 color illustrations, English, French
ISBN 978-3-96900-063-2

The book was produced with the support of the Ministry of Culture Grand Duchy of Luxembourg & the “Bourse CNA – Aide à la création et à la diffusion en photographie 2021” grant.

Photographic walksVendome, France
02.07. – 27.08. 2022

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