About the book
The French writer Michel Houellebcq published the book "The Map and the Territory" (French: La Carte Et
Le Territoire) in 2010. Michel Houellebecq is known for his novels, poems and essays. He has been
described as "France’s biggest literary export and, some say, greatest living writer".
If you ever felt like reading this book, I will be spoiling everything here. The book “The Map and the Territory” ends with the death of Michel Houellebecq which is a reference to the philosopher Barthes who talked about the importance of the "Death of the author" in literature. In this philosophy the author actually only plays a subordinate role in the creation of the story and the book. The meaning behind the narrative is given by the reader and not by the writer. In this book Michel therefore plays a subordinate role and declares his own death in a gruesome way, because the writer is not needed for the denouement. He and his dog were found dead in his own home.
Because I don't consider myself an artist, I painted over a picture of Michel Houellebecq. I really wanted the painting to look like him and since "cigarettes" and Michel Houellebecq are almost synonyms, I deliberately chose a photograph of him with a cigarette.
Michel Houellebcq dies a gruesome death. His body was surgically cut into wisps and spread over his living room, resembling a saucey bowl of
tomato pasta. This scene is what I wanted to depict without the gore overpowering the metaphore. I
wanted to demonstrate this scene using his portrait, which I painted beforehand. I pulled a Banksy and
put this portrait throught the shredder to imitate his stringy remnants.
I also opted for a portrait of Michel because the main character in the book, Jed, is an artist who painted Michel right before his unfortunate passing. On the background I let a map shine through because Jed became famous thanks to his "Michelin maps" project, he photographed maps of the culinary Michelin world and displayed them in galleries. It is also a direct link to the title of the book.