Les petits temples de la route
Since the advent of artistic modernity, and with the photographs of Bernd and Hilla Becher or Martin Paar, we know that photography can give a unique dimension to trivial things and places, by, according to Charles Baudelaire in The Painter of Modern Life, “extracting the eternal from the ephemeral”. This connection through art between past and present, between mundaneness and mythology, is a central theme of the exhibition “Little temples of the road” by Alexis Boucher, a project that he explains in the following lines:
“Service or gas stations punctuate now downgraded trunk roads.
Gradually abandoned and in various states of conservation, these 70 garages are remnants of a specific stage of the development of society, in the same way as steel-manufacturing furnaces.
They bear witness to industrial capitalism now replaced by a more immaterial financial capitalism.
They are the contemporary ruins of the peak of the automotive epic.
Yesteryear's garage has also disappeared because one can no longer self-repair a car.
The photographs of the little temples of the road were taken in 1995-96 in the framework of a project with ENSP (French National School of Landscaping).
To this day, I have kept this study going, gathering mementos from wherever my travels took me.
This also happened during a cross over when analogical images became digital.
The landscape is visually modified by transformations in society.
Ruins remain, as is the case for those XXth century gas service stations which meet a common typology, and to which one could apply similar techniques and methods used to study vestiges of ancient times.
Photography presents them as they were at the time of capture and will sustain collective memory of them, as new uses of such places do.
Prospective history reveals the myth.
This exhibition presents photographs, installations and sculptures which are different forms of study and reconstruction of human material vestiges.
Both an acknowledgement and homage, this exhibition reflects on-the-ground prospective work and the very powerful links which come to be between myself and my surroundings.”
Based in India since 2008, he is a freelance artist and an art director. With a diversity of study and professional experiences, his work spans a range of media and centre of interest.