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L'oeil De La Photographie
© Florence Goupil

Magical Realism

Andrea Castillo
Andrea Castillo
+October 09, 2020

This year has been a whirling chess game, but all women and men being on the losing side. It has come with a lot of changes, but what else to be expected with a decade in transition, and humanity again a witness of change. Life is asking more, driving nay kicking everyone out of their comfort zones. If a movie were to be made about it, at least it would have been a blockbuster. This year has taught the importance of the little things, the contemplation of our ordinary lives as extraordinary encounters: life becomes fiction, and fiction becomes life. The line between what is real and what is fantasy has come to disappear in the nuances of global events.

Who would have thought that those dystopian desert cities in science fiction movies would become the prophecy of the past months. LIfe is coming back again, and our humanity being put to the test of the hero's journey. The universe will prove the transformation, if the change that we need to achieve, becomes an established new lifestyle or just a reminder of a face mask. It's as if magic has taken over sanity and reality: tired of being literal, abdicated. Relegating its position to absurdity.

FFU image
© Florence Goupil

If 2020 were to be classified on a bookshelf, it would share the dust with Gabriel García Marquez and Isabell Allende, with the same amount of magic and reality. With the tag of Magical Realism on it, we would read it with frankness, constructing a cosmovision with an aperture to the unknown and a delight for the uncertainty. We would let ourselves float in parallel universes, watching life being interrupted with bookmarks of pixie dust. The difference between a book and life is that we cannot read our ending. But that doesn't mean we can't change the pacing, skip pages, or re-read ones. The lesson of time for a while now has come in a linear package, where reality is supposed to be constructed logically, where chronological order is the only commandment. It has been forgotten, the evil kind of magic and the pure kind, has always been a reality, a reality that changes how time passes by and our conception about it. A fantastic Peruvian photographer has devoted herself to a photographic work that searches for that magical realism, impregnated with culture, tradition, enchantment, and history.

Florence Goupil's photographs are the projection of the oral tradition meeting a fast-paced life, trying to capture time before culture disappears on mechanization. In her project about the mountain healer Don Benito Q ́oriwaman, she captures the orality of a culture that has been surviving reality and fighting back with an idealism almost magic. Don Benito was a guardian of nature, a protector of his roots, and a vessel for historical wisdom. Florence merged herself with the landscape to let the story of Benito levitate through her conceptions of reality, in Goupil's words: “The story of Don Benito Q ́oriwaman turned into a myth that reminds us about the close relationship of healers with nature. It is also a story about power, the survival of orality, the Peruvian spirituality, and of course, about the magical realism that distinguishes the area”.

FFU image
© Florence Goupil

Stories like this one bring back the origin of humanity itself, the richness of our ancestors' history, the mighty connection between nature and humans, and the magic of reality. Remembering that life is not just visions attached to our eye cavities brings out possibilities for real changes. It brings hope back to our plate, our horizons widen on the magic of a reality that is better than our paradigms and misconceptions.

Andrea Castillo
Andrea Castillo
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