Nidhal Chamekh : Rise and fall

2 March - 10 May 2021
  • The triptych Rise and Fall is the result of a residency carried out by the artist in 2019/2020 in the town of Saint-Nazaire in western France. During this three-month residency, the artist took the opportunity to explore his life and his memory. Access to the city's photographic archives was the trigger for a whole series of iconographic collections and comparisons.

    The city of Saint-Nazaire is a dizzying series of historical events that have shaped France and Europe more broadly. It played a great role in trade in the sixteenth until the eighteenth centuries, and was a major battlefield of the first and the second world war and was a final bastion of the Nazi invasion, it also was a centre of the shipbuilding and the workers movements ... in short, the city manifests an important position throughout history. These stories have never ceased to shape its present and that of its inhabitants.

  • Rise and Fall therefore attempts to translate the modernity of this city and beyond that, that of the West. The...

    Rise and Fall  (triptych - Central depiction) 

    2019/2020, Graphite powder on paper

     

    Rise and Fall therefore attempts to translate the modernity of this city and beyond that, that of the West. The central depiction represents the fall of a German fighter plane in the woods of Saint-Nazaire. The photo was captured by the German army before being confiscated by France at the end of the war. This majestic forest no longer exists today, it was used as raw material during the First World War to build shelters, trenches and fortifications.

  • The plate on the right is based on a 1950/60 archival photo highlighting the greatness of the shipbuilding industry in...

    Rise and Fall (triptych - Right depiction)

    2019/2020, Graphite powder on paper

    The plate on the right is based on a 1950/60 archival photo highlighting the greatness of the shipbuilding industry in the city. The naval industry which is the very identity of Saint-Nazaire and the translation of the spirit of progress and modernity, of industrial and maritime exploitation. The naval industry now employs more than 3,000 workers, most of them posted and foreigners, working in very precarious conditions and without social rights.

  • The third drawing, is a contemporary representation, taken during the residency. It is a cracked road as seen all over...

    Rise and Fall (triptych - Left depiction)

    2019/2020, Graphite powder on paper

    The third drawing, is a contemporary representation, taken during the residency. It is a cracked road as seen all over the city and the effect of rising waters in the area. With global warming, the city risks being submerged under water, a forecast confirmed by the European Environment Agency in February 2020 (during this residency). By the end of this century, Saint-Nazaire may no longer exist.