The work of Valencian sculptor Miquel Navarro is characterized by its persistent exploration of the urban landscape. Trained as a painter, Navarro initially produced two-dimensional images featuring geometric structural and architectural forms—segments of landscapes or imaginary cities. In 1972, the year of his first solo exhibition, Navarro shifted his focus to sculpture, and in 1973 he began the first of his Cities. Set directly on the floor without a pedestal and comprising many separate geometric components of varying sizes, shapes, and materials—at first primarily in terracotta, but since 1985 in various metals such as iron, zinc, and aluminum—these installations map out the topography of fictive metropolises on a human scale, producing a dialogue between sculpture and architecture. Navarro's miniature cities expand horizontally across the floor of the gallery, rising vertically at certain points in the form of aggressively tall, phallic towers. In evoking urban sprawl, the Cities reflect the artist's own personal experience of the mutability of the man-made landscape: since the 1950s, his home town of Mislata, once a village surrounded by extensive farmland dotted with small pockets of industry, has been transformed by the expansion of nearby Valencia.
In addition to one of Navarro's major Cities—Wall City (Ciudad muralla, 1995–2000), the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao collection also includes Your World, Your City (Tu mundo, tu ciudad, 2003)—a work created by the artist for the museum. In this interactive installation, viewers are encouraged to create their own imaginary city by arranging and rearranging the various aluminum pieces. Besides allowing participants to explore the creative act in the realms of architecture and urban planning, Your World, Your City creates a dynamic of continual construction and deconstruction-one of the fundamental ideas behind Navarro's work.
Petra Joos. "Miquel Navarro." In Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Collection. Bilbao: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao; Madrid: TF Editores, 2009.