Catalogue exhibition Regards Croises Franco-Indien: Diwan Manna-Michel Dieudonne
10/24/2007 , By H. E. Mr Jérôme Bonnafont
Regards croisés is an exceptional project. It stems from the enriching encounter of two liberal photographers with rather different sensibilities - one of them being French, Michel Dieudonné, a brilliant portraitist and an architecture photographer, the other an Indian, Diwan Manna, navigating between conceptual photography and more classical work made within stricter aesthetics.
Regards croisés is also a meeting of two cities which shared until recently, without being acquainted with each other, a common heritage, the history of which is in the course of being written: Chandigarh and Firminy, the biggest sites of the works of Le Corbusier. This catalogue and the exhibition illustrate the stages of this mutual discovery, of this unforeseen dialogue between India and France, thanks to Le Corbusier.
It is in this spirit that the Saint-Etienne Métropole, the Embassy of France and the Alliance Française de Chandigarh decided to carry out two artistic residencies, to accompany the inauguration of the Church of Saint-Pierre in Firminy in November 2006, made possible by the unshakeable will of great amateurs of Le Corbusier. The envisaged project consisted of mirroring the city of ‘one’ through the eyes of the ‘other’. Sharing a modern heritage, yet unacknowledged, the two cities have together become aware of its exemplary quality, and the initiative of certain countries like India and France, which propose to enlist the works created by Le Corbusier amongst world heritage, has acted like a catalytic agent.
The ground prepared by this photography project by Diwan Manna and Michel Dieudonné has served common interests: given its inhabitants conscience and pride in their heritage of which they are the rightful heirs and enabled a dialogue between cultures less removed from each other than anyone can contemplate. This is why it is necessary then that the exhibition, first presented in Firminy in the Unité d’Habitation, should likewise be showcased in Chandigarh, as also in all the Alliances Françaises in India.
To exist under the imprint of Le Corbusier is not trivial. The images of Michel Dieudonné and Diwan Manna reveal this to us.
Architecture blends art and public works, sometimes for the worst, but fortunately for what concerns us, for the better, the Palace of Assembly and the Firminy Church being cases in point. This catalogue and the exhibition are a homage to the two cities, an inspiration for architectural modernity, to the genius of Le Corbusier. They bear also testimony to the exceptional art of Diwan Manna and Michel Dieudonné. An invitation to cruise between Firminy and Chandigarh, the catalogue and exhibition are as much a visa for the future of these two radiant cities, which, between modernist tapestries or new church (even if it is forty years of age), have still many more treasures to reveal.