An exhibition of photographs
by Marco Saroldi
Kalinka Art Gallery, Pondicherry
September 14th to October 15th

Matrimandir… forget all that you know about the place, the emotional and physical resonance, and go look at the Matrimandir’s photo by Marco Saroldi that is part of his coming exhibition at Kalinka Art Gallery, Pondicherry.

In a stunning composition that resembles an impressionist painting by Monet or a page from a fairy tale book, Marco achieved a “tour de force”.

The scene is carefree and intimate. Between two branches, Indian women all dressed in earthy tone saris are gathering together in a beautiful green park. The charm of the subjects lies above all in the impression of spontaneity, a simple evocation of womanhood. We can immediately feel the women’s bond and unity. Through a special camera technique of long exposure that gives a blurred effect to his subjects, the photographer emphasised the emotional focus of this joyful event. The tones and colors are all earthy with a touch of red on the side, almost as if to perfect the composition.

But what gives the picture its charm is that the blurred subjects are in front of a sharply green and manicured park looking very clear in the background. Further away, at the end of the perspective, a golden globe coming from nowhere gives light and wonder to the whole scene. Is this a castle, a temple, a space ship or just a surrealistic painting? No, it is not a fairy tale, neither a dream. It is the Matrimandir and you are at home in time. You feel the coming and going of seasons, people and events, and you wonder at the endless flow and the meaning of all that has gone and the mystery of all that has yet to be.

This mix of clear and blurred is the technique used in all 12 photographs of this exhibition titled “Moving towards”. For the artist, it is first and foremost a spiritual reflection of the city he lives in, Auroville. Greatly influenced by Sri Aurobindo, Marco wants to give the message that humanity is moving in a subtle physical way. He shows that if the landscape is static, human beings are not; therefore, the blurred effect symbolises movement.

The search for crowds makes him go to social events and take shots of bus stations, La Promenade in Pondicherry, a festival in Kuilapalayam, fishing nets in Kochi, and not least, the exquisite blue and red venue of the Auroville Village Action Group.

The bright colours and the life of it all remind you that you are in India, and Marco, via his camera, relates the spiritual message of man’s evolution through the feeling of “Moving towards”.

But “Moving towards” is not just a descriptive name for this Italian photographer’s first exhibition in India. It is the essence of a true belief, and his decision to present his work outside of Auroville, that shows his integrity and strong conviction that there is a starving world outside which needs to be communicated to. This is human unity.

Chana Corinne Devor for AVArts