Two weeks ago, the long-anticipated Kirchner Cultural Centre was unveiled. Cristina’s inauguration of the magnificent, restored building was an appropriate closure to the work her husband had begun over five years ago. It was his idea to transform the National Post Office HQ into a space to celebrate culture, not just that of Argentina but also international artists and creators; the opening exhibition, installed until September of this year, was created by Sophie Calle, a French woman.
The reopening has been met with huge enthusiasm from the public, Argentinians and tourists alike. As we wandered the corridors on a weekday afternoon, we did so with hundreds of others. Perhaps the most striking feature of the building, aside from its impressive façade that towers over the plaza, is its entrance hall. It has beautifully retained its original 1928 design as a postal hall; dark and shiny wooden high desks fill the room, whist cardboard cutouts of people who once would have stood here make them seem purposeful. Sophie alle distracts away from the snippets of history as she blinks pointedly down from a projection onto the back wall.
If you follow your gaze upwards, the stained-glass ceiling catches your eye, its bold colours contrasting with the black, white and deep brown of the room below. However, beyond Sophie Calle there is still much to be done: scaffolding fills what the guide tells us will be an auditorium that can hold multiple thousands of people, and we are only allowed to certain parts of the building as work continues. As the largest cultural centre in Latin America, it is one to keep an eye on, and to keep returning to as both exhibitions and construction evolve.
Volunteer’s tip: Guided tours only take place on weekends, and they are in high demand. In order to secure a place on the first tour at 14h, begin queuing at least 45 minutes earlier. You can visit the official website here: http://www.culturalkirchner.gob.ar