Brazilian artist Helena Kanaan develops her work by investigating the printed art with focus on the double, the multiple, the matrix and its transference as well as the possibilities of the graphic matter. For this, she uses lithography, frotagge, stamps and monotypes. Through these procedures, she introduces into its operational repertoire the concepts of accumulation and provisionality. During the month of February, inaugurating our 4-weeks-long residences, Helena brings this experience of working with the process to the ´ace‘s workshops.
PROVISIONAL SPACES (by Helena Kanaan)
The project Provisional Spaces is intended to be a work that expresses something that is in transit. Printed Art and its many possibilities. Multiple images, objectifying the variation, contemplating the diversity of interventions in a “matrix” doing, a movement of transference. The experience with the technique and the intrinsic matricity will be the beginning of a reflection on the temporalities and spatialities that constitute the place, taking into account the mode of installation and the situation of a being in a country that is not the one of the artist. Low weight papers with variable opacities will vehicle compositions with frotagge, stamps, monotype and other techniques.
1961 | Bagé, RS, Brazil
Lives and works in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
2011 | PhD at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV), Spain
1998 | MFA at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Studies at the Scuola Internazionale d’Arte Grafica Il Bisonte, Florence, Italy
Bachelor in Printmaking at the Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Brazil
Museu da Gravura Brasileira FAT/URCAMP, Brazil
Instituto de Artes at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Museu de Arte Contemporânea MGS
Paço Municipal Porto Alegre, Brazil
Salas Negras MARGS Porto Alegre, Brazil
Scholarship Instituto Italo Latino Americano (IILA)
Specialization in Scuola Internazionale d’Arte Gráfica, Florence, Italy.
CAPES / CNPq Master Grant (PPGAV IA UFRGS), Brazil.
PhD Scholarship Polytechnic Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (UPV), Spain.
This residency has been made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of ther Brazilian Embassy in Buenos Aires. Very special thanks to the Embassy’s Cultural Attaché Maria Cristina Rayol dos Santos.
Provisional Spaces is the result of a month’s work by Brazilian artist Helena Kanaan. The installation developed in the Políglota Room of Fundación´ace was presented at the February 2017 ´aceNITE, titled, Unstable, as a corollary of an intense period of conceptual and technical research.
PROVISIONAL SPACES (by Alicia Candiani)
Accumulation, covering, discovery. Things that have no fixed form. The fold, the empty body, the fugacity, the deviations of the technique… Kanaan’s work takes both from Deleuze and Bataille, and looks at Kiki Smith and Rivane Neuenschwander simultaneously.
During her residency at ´ace, the artist wandered in a creative search with many entries and unequal outcomes. In the end, and paradoxically, the circle –shape that without beginning and end represents the universe, eternity, the whole, the incarnation of oneness– served as leitmotiv to discourse on what is not determined and finished and is configured during the passage.
Although it is not the theme of this installation, when we wander around it we can’t stop thinking about the islamic culture, the Mudéjar architecture, the desert tents and the veils that cover heads and faces of Muslim women. From Syrian heritage, the artist uses the repetition of simple elements interlaced or superimposed for her compositions. Sometimes they are printed, sometimes only insinuated in the memory of the form that pressed the paper, others escape the plane and take physical life. The detail organizes but does not prevail in the set. The reiteration of the circles that gave rise to these works acts as a metaphor for eternity and at the same time as a way to contradict it and raise its constant mutability.
In the series of frotagges, which insinuate organic forms (although they do not come from them), it does not imitate nature, which would be an act of impiety on the part of the artist. On the contrary, it is suggested, remembered, discovered… and there is no fear that this fact can lead to something else non-representational that at times becomes pure space. It is in these “deviations of technique” that Kanaan shifts the limits of print media, removes its specificity and expands it, discovers new deviations and with them builds a work –unclassifiable between the print media, the textile art, the drawing and the installation– in which the means to construct it do not respond to its own laws but to the philosophy that generates it.
Artists in Dialog
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.
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.
Wanderings: Between Prints and Rhinoceroses
On Thursday, June 8th, the exhibition Wanderings: Between Printmaking and Rhinoceroses was inaugurated, presented by the Brazilian Embassy alongside the National Ministry of Culture of Argentina. The opening was attended by the Brazilian Ambassador Sérgio Danese, the Sub-secretary of Cultural Cooperation Dr. Antonio Beun, the exhibition curator Mrs. Helena Kaan, and Alicia Candiani –founder and artistic director of Proyecto´ace in Buenos Aires–.
The exhibition is based on the project coordinated by the artist Helena Kanaan (Brazil); in the scope of the Nucleus of Printed Art of the Institute of Arts of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The proposal was developed in November 2015, on the occasion of the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Dürer’s Rhinoceros, name by which the woodcut engraving created by Albrecht Dürer in 1515 is generically known. Since its creation the project has already visited Brazil and Paraguay, with works by invited artists from Brazil, Argentina, Spain, and Germany.
ABOUT PRINTMAKING, WORDS, IMAGINATION: 500 YEARS OF GANDA (by Helena Kanaan, curator)
In 1515 a rhinoceros roamed the streets of Lisbon, the beginning of an event in which diplomatic relations, art, history, imagination, science, and Albrecht Dürer converged. 500 years later, an exhibition of visual works reverberates techniques, technologies, and attitudes that respond to the subjectivities sketched between the original print and the investigative journey of an iconic image.
Techniques, cartographies, writings, and matrices are organized in an aesthetic investigation by the Nucleus of Printed Art of the Institute of Arts, UFRGS, Brazil. Using as a starting point the work Rhinoceros 1515, a woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, artists from five countries present contaminations and visual mutations hybridized by technology and manual techniques. From the texture of the wood to the pixel, an iconographic and iconological survival of a rhinoceros that was proof of the dominion of new worlds. A zoopoetic that brings to the surface the memory and the updating of diplomatic borders and technical rules, disseminated by the concept of printing.
ABOUT PRINTMAKING, WORDS, IMAGINATION: 500 YEARS OF GANDA (by Alicia Candiani)
The story of an artist (Albrecht Dürer) who represents what he never saw (a rhinoceros) creating an “admirably unfaithful” image that was considered a reliable description during the next three centuries. Until today, it remains the most celebrated animal image in Art History, which leads us to reflect on the power of images and the “legitimacy” of their verisimilitude through printed media.
19 visual artists who use print/digital media as part of our artistic practices were invited to participate in this project, and dialogue with the Rhinoceros Ganda. As a result, Wanderings… presents the deconstruction of this iconic symbol. It has been re-signified, denied, described in its mistakes, relocated, or shown without a fixed course. With more questions than answers, we allow ourselves to explore all the edges of the printmaking tradition and their meanings in the contemporary world.
Maria Do Carmo Veneroso
Núcleo de Arte Impressa
Enrique Martínez Leal