The essay “Enunciar, anunciar, denunciar: el arte como archivo” by the writer and artist Diamela Eltit (b. 1949) appears in the catalogue for La quinta del sordo, the exhibition of works by Guillermo Núñez (b. 1930). The exhibition, which was presented at the Centro Cultural Matucana (2003), was a retrospective spanning the 30 years since the coup d’état that revoked democracy in Chile in 1973, an event that deeply affected Núñez since he was a victim of state violence. He was arrested by DINA agents in 1974, tortured, and imprisoned for several months. After he was released, in 1975, he organized the exhibition Núñez: exculturas-printuras, at the Instituto Chileno-Francés de Cultura. His exhibit consisted of objects that were in cages, tied up, and packaged to highlight the political situation in the country. The exhibition was shut down the morning after it opened. A few months after being arrested again, he went to live in exile in France until 1987, when he returned to Chile. While he was overseas, he kept in constant touch with the Chilean art milieu and, from 1977 on, presented his work at group exhibitions and one-man shows.
The title La quinta del sordo is a reference to Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, who painted Los desastres de la guerra (1810–20), a series of illustrations that depicted the effects of the Napoleonic invasion of Spain. Taking a similar approach, Núñez organized his retrospective to condemn the horrors of the political violence committed against humanity by an authoritarian state. He was also interested in encouraging an interaction with members of the public and, for this exhibition, produced large silkscreen prints that could be manipulated by viewers. These were placed outside the exhibition space and the interactions were filmed and shown as part of the event. [Concerning this exhibition, see in the ICAA Digital Archive: “El deseo de archivo de Guillermo Nuñez” (doc. 757295) written by Justo Pastor Mellado.]
In 2007, Guillermo Núñez was given the Premio Nacional de Artes Plásticas, the highest honor awarded by the Chilean government.