Aire d’accueil – non exhaustive study of the imagination’s potential
[Aire d’accueil – inventaire non exhaustif des pouvoirs de l’imagination]
They are said to be « welcoming » [d’accueil]. These sites are, according to the law, compulsory in all French municipalities of more than 5,000 inhabitants and must allow the « Travellers » to halt according to their route plans. Antoine Le Roux addressed them as facts. Frontally and without light effect. He confronts us with spaces without any distinctive sign, without identity. Enclosed, made of concrete, and at the same time enigmatic. Documenting by refraining from interpreting or commenting, showing by confronting us with questions rather than demonstrations that photography is incapable of carrying out, such is the strictly photographic purpose of this possible inventory of these « sites ».
This position of the photographer who disappears but is nevertheless very present brings us back to a problem of definition. What are these empty spaces, as if on hold, which are neither fallow nor abandoned land, rather spaces not yet invested ?
« Area » [aire], takes us back to a mathematical problematic and the calculation of surfaces, the most famous of which remains « squaring the circle ». « Welcome », according to the dictionary, means « a ceremony or service directed at a newcomer, generally consisting in welcoming him and helping him in his integration or his proceedings ». We have some difficulty in making these definitions match with the images made by Antoine Le Roux. Wouldn’t they rather refer to the inadequacy of these places with their official attribution ?
Born in 1984, Antoine Le Roux decides to focus on photography after a BA in literature. Graduated from Louis-Lumière National school for photography, film and sound engineering, in Paris, he has been pursuing for several years a large scale project about romani societies. In this context, he started to explore the visual archives of roma writer Matéo Maximoff back in 2014, which led to publications and will result in upcoming exhibitions. His project Aire d’accueil was shown for the first time as part of an academic work and again in 2018 as part of the « Roma Season » held in Paris.
A the crossroads of a documentary and poetic approach, delving into the visible layers of the places where we live, Antoine Le Roux repeatedly addresses the notion of memory while exploring the meaning of our everyday landscape. Because it seems that the small evidences left by our previous lineages are difficult to decode, when it is often within them, in all quietness, that the turmoil of the world resounds the most.
© text by Christian Caujolle / pictures by Antoine Leroux