Executed in 1999, The Crossroads Cabinet unites a remarkable collection of Muñoz's most iconic motifs in a contemporary take on the Rennaissance 'cabinet of curiosities'. Assembled along eleven shelves arranged at different heights are miniature doors, mirrors, switchblade knives and small figurines. Together these items pique the viewer's interest, simultaneously inviting close attention and casting fear into the beholder's mind. Like the artist's early work First Bannister (1987) which located the pointed end of a blade inconspicuously and malevolently behind a hand rail, this cabinet displays a series of knives, both brandished and sheathed. First prompted by a shop that sold knives in Santiago de Compostella, they appear sinister situated just a shelf below the unsuspecting men and women. The figures themselves are engrossed with one another, the seductive female model infatuated by her own reflection and closely flanked by a male admirer. Seeking a glimpse of our own image in the mirrors, we are thwarted by the figurines' awkward positions. Any portions of our faces we do grasp seeming strangely at odds, indeed rather distorted in comparison with the miniatures presented in front of us.
With the arrangement of doors on the uppermost level of the cabinet variously opened and closed, Muñoz invokes the theatre set with a Pirandello-like play being enacted in front of us. Like the artist's celebrated Conversation Pieces created in the 1990s, The Crossroads Cabinet speaks perceptively of the contemporary human experience. Each group of maquettes is isolated, no passage existing between the shelves, and real palpable danger separating them. The viewer also stands alienated from the activity happening inside the case, first by the pane of glass separating us and second, by the turned backs shunning any attempts at making contact. As the artist himself once suggested, 'at one moment this is the means of reversal that has take place. The spectator becomes very much like the object to be looked at, and perhaps the viewer has become the one who is on view' (J. Muñoz interview with P. Schimmel, ed. G. Tosatto, Juan Muñoz: Sculptures et Dessins, exh. cat. Musée de Grenoble, 2007, p. 31). Created just two years before the artist's tragically premature death The Crossroads Cabinet distills into sculptural form the artist's most prominent concerns, elaborated over the course of his rich career.