Pilar Quinteros’ (Chile, 1988) project starts from a reflection on the history of the gallery’s building. First built in 2004, it was demolished a few years later in 2011 as a result of urban dynamics that culminated in the purchase of its land by a multinational company. After several negotiations the gallery was re-constructed, following its initial design, in another lot a few meters from its original location. Therefore the current building is a replica of the former, to which was added an adjacent building.
Reflecting on these aspects, Pilar Quinteros developed a research of replicated, displaced or nomadic buildings and encountered unlikely parallels between the Leme gallery and one of the main architectural symbols of the city of São Paulo, the Luz Railway Station (Estação da Luz). Since 1867 the station underwent continuous modifications and reconstructions. Its constant reconstructions are part of the biography of the metropolis and of the collective memory of its inhabitants. But despite its immemorial presence and intrinsic connection with the city, this station crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship, dismantled piece by piece, presumably chosen from an English catalog.
For SITU, Pilar Quinteros proposes a symbolic intersection of the stories of both buildings, through an architectural juxtaposition. The artist adds to Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s building a clock tower which is similar to the one at the Luz Station. The tower of the Estação da Luz was for many years the city’s main spatial and temporal reference point, since its clock, visible from various points of the city, established the official hour that all citizens should follow. But the replica constructed by Quinteros seems to deny this referentiality, subverting several aspects that are taken for granted about this well-known element.