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"Montagues & Capulets"

Easily among Fotoseptiembre’s most intriguing offerings, Cinnabar’s latest pairs two photographers who transform themselves with elaborate costumes and makeup to embody characters plucked from history books and ancestral portraits. Although both Christian Fuchs (Lima, Peru) and Mari Hernandez (San Antonio) might inspire comparisons to shape-shifting self-portrait disruptor Cindy Sherman, both put their own distinct spin on the art of creative transformation. Blurring lines between real and imagined histories, the work of Fuchs maintains an elegant air of mystery as the artist painstakingly personifies various members of his family tree. Informed by genealogy and fantasy alike, his painterly photographic fusions nod to classical portraits — especially the kind with eyes that appear to be hiding deep secrets or monitoring guests as they move across the room. Hernandez, whose politically charged self-portrait Vendido graced our cover on August 1, takes a slightly more rasquache approach to disguising and photographing herself, donning prosthetics and playful, readily available and DIY costuming in self-portraits and montages that “address the current political climate and the culture of political hegemony.” Despite differences in style, approach and intent, Fuchs and Hernandez are making images that mesh together seamlessly — thanks in no small part to a shared affinity for high drama and drag. Name-checking the iconic family feud introduced in Shakespeare’s late 16th-century tragedy Romeo and Juliet, “Montagues & Capulets” blends the series Transgeneration (Fuchs) and Hombres (Hernandez) into a contemporary examination of “the lasting impact land and title play in our current society.”

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