La Part Maudite Illustrée responded to an invitation by Le Grand Café art center in Saint Nazaire, France to propose and develop a work related to the history of the place.
Saint Nazaire is known for its shipyard that, until recently, was the most important in Europe. At the end of Second World War it was bombarded and destroyed to a 90%. In the 1950s, the city was rebuilt almost entirely.
In 1949 George Bataille published his philosophical essay on economic theory The Accursed Share (La Part Maudite). In it, Bataille defended the importance of unproductive expenditure in an economic system, normally associated to processes of production and consumption. The book proposes that every society produces a surplus that should be dilapidated, understanding it as an inherent factor to the evolutionary process.
I used Bataille’s book to establish a series of connections with the city’s complex history. I then proposed to produce a new illustrated edition of The Accursed Share with images by illustrator Jorge Aviña from details and descriptions of all ships built in the city of which I could find proof of their disappearance. The format of the book as well as the aesthetic choices were inspired by the postcards printed back in the early twentieth century when the construction of a ship was finished and it left the port.
The production of the book was intentionally halted just before going into print, keeping only the offset plates with the layout of the publication. Left as a potential book, preserving the associations I had made, in the case between Bataille, Saint Nazaire and myself, in a personal, unpublished dimension.
90 paintings (gouasch on wood)
Paintings made by Jorge Aviña
33 offset plates
and wooden box
Produced by Le Grand Café, St. Nazaire.
With the assistance of Olivier Mazé