Sandra Gamarra’s (Peru, 1972) project is established from the building’s structural grid, an orthogonal mesh cast by the formwork used in the construction of the gallery’s concrete walls. For the artist, the grid is a fundamental element for understanding how Man has structured his physical and social space. It can simultaneously be read as a symbol of the modernist ideology, representing the human order before the “chaos” of nature. And also be interpreted according to the pre-Columbian civilizations, for which the grid represented a greater mystical logic through which man could understand the order of nature.
Wishing to juxtapose these two notions of the same element, Gamarra creates a set of concrete blocks that are similar in size and materiality to those of the gridded facades and places them horizontally in the patio. The composition formed by these pieces outlines a central void with a plan shaped as a stepped cross, a fundamental symbol for pre-Columbian cultures. Referred to as the Incan Cross or Chakana, it symbolizes the connection between the earthly and the “superior” world and its shape is structured from an orthogonal grid.
The outlined Chakana has one of its ends open to the street, inviting pedestrians to come into this cross. In the Andean mythology the center of the Chakana represents the unknown, the unimaginable and the sacred. It is from within the installation that the visitor discovers another set of grids; constellation-like lines draw an immersive map of Southern America’s land routes and a subtle gridded texture of fabric is embossed on the fallen concrete blocks.