Néstor Sanmiguel Diest

The Vicissitudes of the Automaton

3 June – 19 September 2022 /
Retiro Park, Palacio de Velázquez

Free ticket

The exhibition devoted to artist Néstor Sanmiguel Diest (Zaragoza, 1949) offers the chance to examine his art-making from the late 1980s to the present day.

This exhibition project explores the relationships the artist establishes between image and text in a practice where pictorial records, rule systems and graphic signs cross over, and in which work, understood as an abstract machine structuring our lives, appears as a perpetual concern. Far from setting out an exhaustive survey or anthology, the show sketches a kind of cartography, whereby pieces executed at different points along the artist’s career are interrelated.

Since the early years of his practice, linked to the founding of the collectives A Ua Crag (1985–1996), Segundo partido de la montaña (1987–1988) and Red District (1990–1992), Sanmiguel Diest’s output has been systematic and methodical, with his extensive body of work, with hundreds of drawings and paintings, making up a catalogue in which the limits between image, text and representation become visible and also problematic. Standing outside conventions, chiefly those that are quick to rule on the obsolescence of certain languages in the modern era, his practice is situated in a field where historical depth can be recognised with references to art history, literature and popular culture. These works do not participate in a literal interpretation of the world surrounding us, but instead respond to a programme which settles into the simultaneity of images and texts, and official and subordinate, ideological or merely document-based discourses in a potentially infinite and circular mechanism that forces the gaze of those contemplating them to be resituated.

Sanmiguel Diest defines his practice as the “craft of evading”, a premise which materialises in the way he positions himself on the periphery, not just geographically but also technically and materially, directly resulting in the scarce visibility of his work, until recently. This evasion or distancing from art’s hegemonic narratives and accounts have worked as a tactic and a method, fuelling thought which questions the modes of contemporary production and their conception of time.


In collaboration with: Comunidad de Madrid

Exhibition´s details

Organized by: 
The Vicissitudes of the Automaton is a curatorial project which unfolds in two simultaneous exhibitions: one in the Museo Reina Sofía’s Palacio de Velázquez and the other in Vitoria-Gasteiz, in the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo del País Vasco-Artium Museoa
Curatorship: 
Beatriz Herráez
In collaboration with: 

Free ticket