Juan Muñoz Opposite Balconies 1991

Juan Muñoz
Opposite Balconies 1991
Private collection, Switzerland © The estate of Juan Muñoz
Photo: Michael Goodman

The Crossroads Cabinets 1999 were partially prompted by a shop that sold knives in Santiago de Compostella, a contemporary ‘cabinet of curiosities’ – the Renaissance idea of bringing together disparate objects, whether relics, works of art, freaks of nature and other oddities into a single collection. Like a miniature index of Muñoz’s interests, the shelves of his cabinets are lined with small sculptures, switchblade knives, miniature doors, and resin casts of body parts and locks.

In Opposite Balconies 1991, the empty balconies of Muñoz’s early works have now explicitly become a place for the human figure. The work is a study in communication, with two figures apparently locked into conversation, each of whom mirrors the other. It also has a biographical significance. As a teenager, Muñoz was tutored by an art critic and poet called Santiago Amón, who lived directly across the street from the Muñoz family. Muñoz credited Amón with awakening his interest in art.