Tale of two cities
July 18, 2008
Regards Croisés Franco-Indiens’ is an artistic link between two cities, Chandigarh and Firminy, which have some of Le Corbusier’s best architectural monuments.
…one gets to see the cities through two different perspectives.
Regards Croisés Franco-Indiens (Indo-Franco Glances),’ by Diwan Manna and Michel Dieudonne, is not just about structures and architecture. It is an artistic link between two cities, Chandigarh and Firminy (a small town in Central France), which have some of Le Corbusier’s best architectural monuments.
Conceptualised in May 2006, the project involved Indian photographer Diwan Manna and French photographer Michel Dieudonne. While Diwan went to Firminy to capture the architecture of the French city, Michel focussed on Corbusier’s architectural grandeur in Chandigarh. Thus, one gets to see the cities through two different perspectives.
Michel, who studied architecture, has explored the city, especially the Assembly Hall and the Capitol Complex of Chandigarh from an architect’s point of view. His architectural training highlighted the buildings from various angles.
The series on the high court emphasises Michel’s skill in clicking different frames. The unique angles in which he has taken the pictures lent the frames a perspective of size and space. The tall Assembly Hall strikes a glaring contrast against a nearby slum. The architectural genius of Corbusier is caught in a picture of a man about to climb the steps of the local court. The doorway, stairway and hand rails seem hand carved.
Michel has captured ordinary life too: people talking on the open rooftop of the Assembly Hall, local men seated lazily... By introducing people in the frames he brings a sense of movement in ‘lifeless’ buildings.
Manna, who studied art, seems to concentrate on the lights and moods of Firminy’s St. Pierre Church. For example, Manna creates eye-catching frames by catching on camera the rays of light inside the church.
St. Pierre looks like a cross between a spaceship and a factory. The interior of the church has an ethereal feel as light and shadow play peek-a-boo in Manna’s frames. In fact the natural lighting and the artificial lighting in one snap makes one wonder if one is in a planetarium. Another snap of the lights has light dancing in curls and twirls in fluid strokes like that of a painting.
The exhibition held at Art Gallery, Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum, is on till July 25.