Dries Ketels
I am Barbie, you are Barbie, we are Barbie

30.01.17 24.02.17

Dries Ketels will be exploring and carrying out an almost scientifically and semantic research on materials to develop the project I am Barbie, you are Barbie, we are Barbie during his 4-week residency. His work has always a very important step of studying matters and its different reactions to the variation of conditions as temperature, surfaces and interactions with other materials. He stands from the point of the creator that gives life by combining elements and allows the beings to develop in their own way, letting go precise control over the visual outcome.


The artist is using his time in this residency to investigate and perform artistic research for his upcoming body of work I am Barbie, you are Barbie, we are Barbie. A research process that consists of deconstructing concepts around women rights in an almost materialistic approach. In this semantic dance he tries to understand the difficulties and problems concerning women rights. As a result he dives into our collective semantic memory in order to reveal some underlying patterns, misconceptions or problems in order to provide a forum where change can manifest itself. Not trying to manipulate or push towards change but rather letting change manipulate itself.

A tendency to “let it be, become what it can become” which is not only the method of his activism, where the activism has to create and obtain itself without the interference of the artworks, but it’s also the method of his painting process where he gives the painting the possibility to create itself rather than trying to manipulate in order to look like something or in a specific way.

In this approach, he gradually investigates every aspect of the matter that he is using, from the colours to the chemicals, to the paper. Putting the symbolisation, the conceptualisation and the philosophical in the materialistic part of the painting and thereby maintaining complete freedom in the visual aspect of the painting. A complete freedom that then can be used to show the beauty that women inherently possess.

This proposal implies a semantic study of “colture” (colour and culture) taking for example purple (referred to as the favourite colour of Cleopatra) as symbol for women’s leadership; blue (forbidden colour to be worn by women in some Arab countries) as symbol for women’s freedom; green (regeneration and rebirth in ancient Egypt) becomes the symbol of women in general.

He opens up in the search of including other solutions and colours in his work that may arouse a reflection on women condition.

Dries Ketels
1990 | Ghent, Belgium
Lives and works in Ghent, Belgium.

2015 | Science of art major in Theatre studies and minor in Science, at the University of Berlin, Germany

2016 | Painting of the year 2015, Juried exhibition, CODA Museum, Apeldoorn, Netherlands
2015 | ARNOEVOO, Juried exhibition, Bredene, Belgium
2014 | Chie art Gallery, Milan, Italy
2014 | Marzia Frozen Gallery, Berlin, Germany.

2015 | 1st Prize TUUËBETEGOARE, at the Visual Art Competition
2015 | 1st Prize from the Epilepsie Liga, Visual Art Competition
2015 | 1st prize poetry competition Harelbeke

2016 | Online publication in Beautiful Decay 2015
2016 | Magazine Art04
2016 | Online featuring in StudioVox
2015 | International Contemporary Artists Book

Related Activities


I am Barbie, you are Barbie, we are Barbie
Dries Ketels

22.02.17 24.03.17

Within the February 2017 ´aceNITE, titled Unstable, we have presented in the Dialogue Space the pieces developed by Dries Ketels, artist in a sub30 Residency from Belgium.

The project titled I am Barbie, you are Barbie, we are Barbie had as its first search the conjunction of female figures with Ketels’ particular watercolor work. In his previous series there is a very important first stage of study of the materials and supports to be used, making a quasi-scientific analysis of the pigments and their interactions, taking also into account the conditions of the environment, temperature, humidity, etc. Having given a twist, since his previous works start from the abstraction, he now gave rise to suggested figures through a fine observation. During his residency at ´ace, a new challenge was proposed: starting from suggestions of female portraits and then undoing them into more abstract organic figures. The result was a series of watercolors that vary in tonalities and shines, that observing them from different points offer us three-dimensional illusions and organisms.

Related artists

Dries Ketels
1990 | Belgium



Artists in Dialogue


On Wednesday, February 22nd 2017, we had the first ´aceNITE of the year, titled Unstable. A hot summer afternoon in our city, with pouring rain and street cuts that did not prevent us from meeting to share the projects developed during the January-February international residency period and the works of invited local artists.

In the Políglota Room, Provisional Spaces by the Brazilian artist Helena Kanaan was presented. Through repetition and other processes and concepts typical of expanded graphics, the artist built an installation with immersive and veiled spaces.

In the Dialogue Space, Dries Ketels (Belgium) showed his works in progress from the ongoing project I am Barbie, you are Barbie, we are all Barbie.

Building a dialogue with the ´acePIRAR artists in residency, 4 artists from Buenos Aires and La Plata that were selected through the 2016 Semillero Call showed their works. The work of Agustina Girardi, Lucas Maeder, Elinor Peiretti and Lorena Tiraboschi was part of the exhibition Sublimation. A group of artists who use paper in different ways and with different codes, but taking deliberate transformation, reflection on the cycle, and sublimation implicit in their process as a common point.

We also present Helena Kanaan’s book Impressoes, accumulations and features where her lithographic procedures and poetics are shown.

Related artists

Agustina Girardi (La Plata)
Lucas Maeder (CABA)
Elinor Peiretti (CABA)
Lorena Tiraboschi (CABA)

We are grateful to the Embassy of Brazil in Argentina that made Helena Kanaan’s residence possible.

We also thank the volunteers in residence for their collaboration: Silvana Cerrato and Yumi Tamanaha.

Artist-in-Residence International Program

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International Airport

Ministro Pistarini- Ezeiza (EZE)
Buenos Aires
45' to 60' trip

Domestic Airport

Aeroparque Jorge Newbery
Buenos Aires


38, 39, 41, 42, 59, 63, 65, 67, 68, 151, 152, 161, 184, 194 and 168 (stop in the front door)


D Line (Green)
Olleros Station (4 blocks, 4')


Mitre Line (either to Leon Suarez or Mitre)
Colegiales Station (1 block, 1')

The Latin America's Paris

Buenos Aires is Argentine Republic's capital city. With 15,000,000 inhabitants, it is one of the largest cities in Latin America and one of the 10 most populous urban centers in the world. Its cosmopolitan and urban character vibrates to the rhythm of a great cultural offer that includes monuments, churches, museums, art galleries, opera, music and theaters; squares, parks and gardens with old groves; characteristic neighborhoods; large shopping centers and fairs. Here we also find a very good lodging facilities, with accommodation ranging from hostels to five-star hotels of the main international chains. Buenos Aires also show off about its variety of restaurants with all the cuisines of the world, as well as to have cafes and flower kiosks on every corner.

A neighborhood founded on the Jesuit farms in the 17th century

We are located in Colegiales neighborhood where the tree-lined streets, some of which still have their original cobblestones, invite you to walk. Although the apartment buildings advance, low houses still predominate. It is a district of the city where about 20 TV production companies, design studios, artist workshops and the Rock&Pop radio have been located. The neighborhood also has six squares, one of which pays homage to Mafalda, the Flea Market, shops, restaurants and cafes like its neighboring Barrios de Palermo and Belgrano, with which it limits.

Artist-in-Residence International Program

2024 Open Call #3
Residencies 2024

July 31st, 2024

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