carlier | gebauer is pleased to announce Abschriften, a solo exhibition of new works by the
Spanish artist Néstor Sanmiguel Diest. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the
In Jorge Luis Borges’ Pierre Menard, Author of Quixote (1939) a fictitious French writer
named Pierre Menard undertakes the task of painstakingly writing Cervantes’ 17th century
novel line by line. The short story, which first appeared in the Argentine journal Sur, was
cited by philosophers like Foucault, Deleuze, and Blanchot in their considerations of
notions like authenticity, authorship, repetition, and difference.
Néstor Sanmiguel Diest paints as much with literature, selections from philosophical texts,
and found scraps of paper as with inks and pigments. Text functions as a kind of raw
material that the artist draws upon to make his work. Whether a citation from a novel,
scraps of concert tickets, receipts, or philosophical quotations, Sanmiguel Diest treats
each source as equal to the other, a process that he has described as “working with
overlapping layers of contaminated information soaked by rain”.
Like Borges’ Menard, Sanmiguel Diest painstakingly writes passages from books, creating a
new, “infinitely richer”, variations through shifts in scale, material, and context. Many
of the paintings in his new exhibition Abschriften can be understood as a series of pages.
Works like Bajo la luz de la Luna Tuvo la Impresión feature tightly spaced script that
unfolds over numerous layers of pigment. Camino de Hamburgo Para Embarcar layers two forms
of signification: lines of text and a series of gestural, quasi-hieroglyphic like forms.
Works like El Paso de la Palabra reveal the artist’s schematic thinking and interest in
quasi-mathematical structures. A repeating pattern of l-shaped brackets with small green
circles cover the canvas, a pattern which is interrupted by four different panels: three
panels, or pages, of text and an abstract squid-like form. Sanmiguel Diest’s paintings rest
in the interstices between order and disorder. Although his practice entails highly
methodical processes of layering and repetition, his works nonetheless teem with linguistic
and pictorial eruptions.
Néstor Sanmiguel Diest (born 1949) lives and works in Aranda de Duero. At first his art
practice revolved around actions, documents, paintings, texts and manifestos linked to
collectives such as A Ua Crag and Red District. In the 1990s he began to focus exclusively
on the medium of painting. Sanmiguel Diest‘s work has been collected by Tate, MACBA, Museo
Reina Sofía, and MUSAC, among others. He has exhibited his work at MUSAC (2007), and has
also taken part in the recent exhibition Locus Solus: Impressiones de Raymond Roussel at the
Museo Reina Sofía (MNCARS).