Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier is a book which calls for social reform, and sculpting hybrid forms against the backdrop of the first world war. A photography exhibition titled “Le Corbusier in India: The Play of Light”, reinforces this point as it travels across the country honouring the Swiss-French architect’s love for geometry, light and colour.
Presented by the Alliance Francaise, as part of the 50th death anniversary of the architect, the show has photos by Chandigarh photographer Ajay Bhatia. Not just an artist, writer or an urban planner, Corbusier is known to be one of pioneers of modern architecture, and is credited for making Chandigarh India’s first planned city, post independence.
“The 25 photographs on display have been my reading of Le Corbusier’s iconic text Towards A New Architecture, which revolutionised architecture in the 20th century. The majority of the photographs in this series were captured in one continuous, day-long shoot with a Leica camera,” says the self-taught photographer.
“Le Corbusier believed that future architecture would be greatly influenced by primary geometric shapes such as cubes, cones, spheres, cylinders and pyramids,” he says. “A number of my photos in this exhibition consist of close-ups of these geometric shapes as they exist within the city of Chandigarh. The photos show the specific orientation of his buildings, the way light falls on these structures, and amplifies their features.”
Bhatia’s work seamlessly combines the richness of culture, the grandeur of architecture and the expressiveness of photography. By his own description, he explores the contemporary spirit of modern cities as well as the traditional essence, heritage and cultures within them. His photographs provide intricate details of our surroundings but with a subtlety that exponentially enhances their characteristics.
An event and architecture photographer, Bhatia started doing documentary photography in 2012. “I admire the photography of Henri Cartier Bresson but I am more inspired by painters rather than photographers,” says Bhatia. Bruegel, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Leonardo Da Vinci feature on his favourites list, so do filmmakers such as Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini and Emir Kusturica.
The exhibition by Alliance Francaise is currently being showcased at Pune and will travel to Delhi (July 1), Puducherry (August) and Thiruvananthapurum (September).