Catalogue exhibition Indo-French Glances: Diwan Manna-Michel Dieudonne
10/24/2007 , By The President of Saint Etienne Métropole
Le Corbusier: architect, town planner, designer, man of the arts… circumstances determined that he would build his largest series of buildings in the western world in the Saint-Etienne region.
The community of the Saint-Etienne metropolitan area realised the importance of this legacy, and in 2002, decided to continue construction of Le Corbusier’s unfinished work, the building known as the “Church of Saint-Pierre of Firminy-Vert”. As the keystone of the project, this building was to enhance and complete the perspective of the site.
This building is part of an exceptional urban environment. Le Corbusier Firminy site is unique in Europe, and after Chandigarh in India, it is the second largest urban development created by the famous architect anywhere in the world. It includes the Maison de la Culture, the stadium, the church and the Unité d Habitation.
Le Corbusier saw Chandigarh being built while he was drawing up the plans for Firminy, so the architecture of the two towns is intimately interlinked. Like two urban laboratories, the towns share similar sociological and cultural issues, as well as questions of tourism.
Today, a large part of the site at Firminy makes use of the well-furnished collections of Saint-Etienne Métropole’s Museum of Modern Art. In addition to exhibitions of the works of artists in residence, an “interpretative tour” presents the main thrusts of Le Corbusier’s work, spanning town planning, architecture and design, the plastic arts and writing.
In this context, two photographers, Diwan Manna and Michel Dieudonné, were each given the same task: to create a photographic inventory of these sites as they are today. One is Indian, the other French, but what they share is an impeccable knowledge of their respective areas. Each one discovered Le Corbusier’s aesthetic in the other’s country and each one, through his photographs, manages to surprise us and challenge our perception of spaces that we thought we were familiar with.
The exhibition “Le Corbusier: Indo-French Glances, Chandigarh - Firminy” is the initiation of a programme of cultural collaboration. It is part of our plans for a long-term partnership, which will bring great benefits both of our regions.
This new development comes at a time when Le Corbusier’s work is set to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status in 2008.
The Senator and Mayor of Saint Etienne
The President of Saint Etienne Métropole