Libro para Manuel (El segundo nombre de las cosas) (Book for Manuel [The Second Name of Things])

Néstor Sanmiguel

Saragossa, Spain, 1949
  • Date: 
  • Descriptive technique: 
    Ink, acrylic, graphite, lacquer, paper and other material on grey paperboard glued to ocume
  • Dimensions: 
    Each part: 76 x 106 cm
  • Category: 
    Painting, Installation
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

In Libro para Manuel (El segundo nombre de las cosas) (Book for Manuel [The Second Name of Things], 2009-2010), Néstor Sanmiguel expresses his reflections on the practice of painting as language. In this work, these are based on the book Libro de Manuel (A Manual for Manuel, 1973) by Julio Cortázar. Sanmiguel copies the text of the book, adding other texts and materials, along with postcards, photos, cut-outs and personal notes. These make a linear reading difficult, thus rewriting Libro de Manuel from his own perspective. The artist transcribes, letter by letter, the text of the book, which is subjected to a process of repeated random methods, number combinations, automatic drawings or unexpected marks which ultimately become a drawing, also adding elements that seem to create an inventory of the actual time which passes during the process of making the work. Each piece in the group, made up of thirty-three panels, is created from different layers of information, which express transparency, opacity or suggestion, depending on the sequence established in their perception. Sanmiguel uses complex visual schemes to produce enigmatic encrypted narratives, which present hidden dynamics along the lines of the literature of Raymond Roussel or the Surrealists, in a search for automatic formulas produced on the boundaries of consciousness and one’s own will. Making Libro para Manuel (El segundo nombre de las cosas) required a slow, laborious process, taking over a year. It presents a new narrative generated out of the initial text by Cortázar – which is perfectly legible – in a personal symbiosis of literature and painting conceived as action and an analysis of time.