Miquel Navarro (Mislata, 1945) is one of the predominant figures in what is known as “New Spanish Sculpture”. He begins his career in the Sixties with a pictorial style that he himself classifies as Expressionist and in 1974 he creates his first Ciudad (City), a collection of modular, repetitive and geometric forms grouped together in compositions that simulate urban networks and create cityscapes that are spatially positioned like a sculptural installation.
These Ciudades are a constant in the years that follow and are based on the predominance of the complex perception of space as opposed to the observation of isolated pieces. As in a city, the works of Miquel Navarro do not disregard the peripheries and limits as it is these that make the work a whole and he also employs diverse materials in his installations so that every piece generates a poetry of structures. Common themes running through his sculptures range from warriors, totems, moons, buildings and channels to insects and springs. Some of the elements that form the cities can also be considered as independent sculptures.
In 1980 the Guggenheim Museum in New York stages an exhibition of his work. Since the beginning of that decade Miquel Navarro expands his artistic activity to include the design of scenography, for instance in the assembly of the works Vente a Sinapia and Absalón in the Teatro Español in Madrid. Winning the National Plastic Arts Award in 1986 means Navarro represents one of the key exponents of Contemporary Art in Spain.
Navarro creates the work Minerva paranoica specifically for the Palacio de Cristal; the enormous sculpture schematically reproduces the common attributes that represent the arts and the Roman Goddess of war, who in ancient times was offered the loot from battles.
The sculpture is erected in the Palacio de Cristal and explores all the vertical possibilities of space with a huge spear built into the main body. The installation is finished off with different-sized, but uniformly shaped, semi-cylindrical pieces scattered around the marble floor of the Palacio. The artist aims to counter the visual impact of the building while creating a dialogue between structures to highlight the leading role of both, as well as the artwork and the architectural work.
The gigantic totem, placed as a defensive tower, is brimming with allusions to not only its own mythology, but also to the concept of paranoia that has a metaphorical function, although the possible interpretations are left open by the artist.
After the exhibition in the Palacio de Cristal, Minerva paranoica is moved to Valencia to be placed outside the Institut Valencià d´Art Modern (IVAM). In January of 1990 the Miguel Navarro retrospective exhibition is opened.
IVAM Centre Julio González, Valencia (January 18 - March 18, 1990)
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