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From the Rooftop
Original title: Des del terrat
1985 -
Zinc and refractory ceramic
Dimensions: 225 x 200 x 600 cm
Reference: ACF0255
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In 1973, Miquel Navarro began what was to be his great sculpture-architecture adventure: La ciutat. Created using refractory materials, terracotta and glass, this mighty piece bears within it the seed of an approach to the artistic phenomenon that characterises his work and makes him incomparable within the context of contemporary Western sculpture. Since then, he has consolidated his determination to construct rough copies of cities, on the borderline between fantasy, futurism and the dwellings of the past. The traces of ancient times, which crop up in different ways in his work, come both from digging into the origins of his city, Mislata, and from the wider Valencian tradition in which brick and terracotta exist alongside Baroque churches smothered in blue tiles and the Modernist ornamentation so characteristic of the Mediterranean. Des del terrat consists of a set of pieces that vary in size and height in which warm clay coexists with the coldness of lead and zinc, although the latter materials seem to be partially smeared with plaster. Using these components, which offer such a contrast in appearance, Navarro brings out features of cities as different from each other as the one imagined by Fritz Lang in Metropolis, 20th-century New York and the thousand-year-old cities of Mali, Mauritania, Yemen or Morocco. Roughly divided into two sectors of completely different heights—the undergrowth of clay pieces and the block of lead and zinc forged with elements that recall farming tools, hoes and spades—the artist mixes the use of both worlds in Des del terrat; for instance, by having a kind of metal avenue run across the first sector. Torre is an isolated piece consisting of an octagonal structure of light coloured wood, crowned by welded rectangular sheets of zinc from which motley forms emerge: a crest, a tube/drainpipe, a gutter, the tip of a spear… Finally, Pouet is a vertical sculpture made of painted iron, consisting of a central rectangular structure to which the artist added a cone/funnel and poles placed diagonally like arrows. The piece evokes the feeling of a jet of water that is similar—though much smaller and with no practical function—to the fountains the artist built in Torís, Valencia—a work popularly known as “the Pink Panther”, commemorating the bringing of water to the capital of Turia—or the one set up in 1999 outside the Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castellón (EACC). Navarro’s interest in representing fountains, wells, troughs and channelling systems is rooted in the cultural and artistic environment that has shaped him. He always modifies and alters these structures through an aesthetic play with surreal touches that has something simultaneously constructivist and fantastic about it and without side-lining the sexual element. The Valencian ditches and the irrigation systems left by the Arabs in dry farmland accustomed his eye to the flow of water. It is well known that water symbolises the passage of time, as well as fertility and eternity. However, all of the elements—towers, wells, fountains, buildings with no precise use...converge in a larger space, the city, with no functional orientation. On the contrary, it is packed with irregularities, despite the rigid nature of the layout. In this city, more uninhabitable than utopian, no human beings wander the streets: at most, there is a repeated presence of phallic symbols, which abound in Navarro’s work to the point that a homoerotic reading seems inevitable. A masculine world confronted with rounded forms that tradition defines as feminine. In this struggle, the masculine has every chance of winning, something that becomes clear in cities where the hegemony of the vertical and of steely, cutting forms dominates calm horizontality, uniting masculinity and the exercise of power. Having said that, in other pieces (Multitud, 1992) the city is conspicuous in its absence. In this case, it is the human contingent that provides the backbone of the work: countless lead figures that resemble automata lost in the immensity of space.

Other artworks in the Collection by the same artist Other artworks in the Collection by the same artist

  • Tower / 1988

  • Small Well / 1994

  • Baguena / 1992 -

  • Burbaguena / 1992 -

  • Cactus Arm / 2000

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