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Every year since 2002, the Rome Commission - curated by Marco Delogu - invites a photographer to travel to Rome to capture something of the Citta’ Eterna.
For Léonie, the XV Rome Commission is a unique opportunity to explore her anxieties about how the contemporary world can feel dislocated. This includes her fears for the next generations, from the paralysis shown by mankind in the face of environmental destruction to the growing division of wealth that now encourages so many to risk their lives to cross perilous borders. Léonie searched for how she should interpret this vision of a broken world.
In summer 2017, she came to Rome at the end of an incredibly hot season. The city was struggling with acute water shortages and trying to deal with an ever-growing numbers of migrants. For Léonie, the ubiquitous ruins of the classical and monumental were a constant background to the personal stories taking place in the city.
She explored the peripheries of the city, guided by Stalker, an artist and architect collective renowned for their encyclopedic knowledge of Rome’s neglected treasures. She sought out Rome’s half-completed buildings and abandoned urban projects, its wastelands returning to wilderness, and the temporary cardboard cities on the banks of the River Tiber, constructed by migrants trapped in legal limbo.
Léonie’s Roman images describe a world on the brink of collapse. However they are teeming with life. The presence of children is recurrent in her new series. Léonie’s dystopian dream-world spins as the children sleep. Their innocence and vitality exist as hope for the future of this world.
The photographers who have previously been invited to complete the Rome Commission include: Josef Koudelka, Olivo Barbieri, Anders Petersen, Martin Parr, Graciela Iturbide, Gabriele Basilico, Guy Tillim, Tod Papageorge, Alec Soth, Paolo Ventura, Tim Davis, Marco Delogu, Paolo Pellegrin, Roger Ballen and Simon Roberts.