Helena Kanaan
Provisional Spaces

30.01.17 24.02.17

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.


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.

Helena Kanaan
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.

Related Activities


Provisional Spaces
Helena Kanaan

22.02.17 31.05.17

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.

Related artists

Helena Kanaan
1961 | Bagé, RS, Brazil
Lives and works in Porto Alegre


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.


Wanderings: Between Prints and Rhinoceroses
Helena Kanaan

08.06.17 01.07.17

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.


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.


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.

Related artists


Alicia Candiani
Rafael Gil
Cecilia Mandrile
Alejandro Scasso

Paula Almozara
Lilian Amaral
Paulo Chimendes
Helio Fervenza
Eduardo Haesbaert
Helena Kanaan
Bruna Müller
Sandra Rey
Maristela Salvatori
Marcia Sousa
Miriam Tolpolar
Maria Do Carmo Veneroso
Núcleo de Arte Impressa

Ottjörg A.C.

Samir Assaleh
Enrique Martínez Leal



International Projects, Exhibitions

The World IN a Handkerchief
´ace´s genealogy

23.03.22 06.05.22

The World IS a Handkerchief : El mundo es un pañuelo
A Wandering Genealogy curated by Claudia DeMonte & Cecilia Mandrile
The World IN a Handkerchief : El mundo en un pañuelo
Guest Curator, genealogy Proyecto’ace: Alicia Candiani
Exhibition of pieces
selected from the Fundación´ace´s collection and Alicia Candiani’s personal collection of the participating artists in “The world IN a handkerchief”

For a month and a half, the Políglota Room is hosting three exhibitions on a rotating basis. From March 23 to April 1, “The world IS a handkerchief” and “The world IN a handkerchief: the genealogy of ´ace” were exhibited simultaneously, paying special tribute to the Argentine artist Graciela Sacco. While the original  series returned to New York from where it will soon travel to England, the ‘ace genealogy collection was joined by a new exhibition of  large format pieces of the participating artists, some belonging to the Fundación’ace collection and others to the private collection of Alicia Candiani.

The World IS a Handkerchief is a travelling exhibition rooted in the Spanish saying ‘el mundo es un pañuelo,’ which translates into English as ‘this is such a small world’. The project traces serendipitous encounters, moments of discovering personal connections in distant places or unexpected contexts. The project began with the meeting of Claudia DeMonte and Cecilia Mandrile as a mentor and student respectively at the University of Maryland, United States in 1995 and has expanded through an international collaborative network between mentors, students and

The World IN a Handkerchief is a new chapter of the project, a graphic, soft and traveling portfolio curated by guests artists from the core genealogy. Artist and curator Alicia Candiani, essential mentor of this genealogy, Founder and Director of Proyecto´ace, has been invited to curate this new collection that reflects her close creative family.


Handkerchiefs have accompanied people in celebrations and farewells in many cultures for centuries, offered bodily protection and coverage, and sustained expressions of political tenets and spiritual beliefs. In this project, handkerchiefs become vessels of memories and itinerant narratives; containers of emotions; translators of wounds, signals of ideological resistance. Each piece epitomizes a soft space that holds disappearing recollections of homeland as well as reflections on displacement and identity that can be carried as a tangible memento. In times when touch appears as a dangerous sense, every single printed handkerchief means a meaningful testament of the continuous nurturing mentorship among artists and educators, reminding us that the soft touch remains both an intimate and universal need of communication.

To celebrate this constant and sustained creative dialogue, in 2019 the curators developed a portable exhibition of 50 handkerchiefs that explored the meaning of belonging and interconnectedness that this Spanish saying so tangibly evokes. In the reconstruction of this alternative family made up of artists and collectives from different latitudes and generations during the last two decades, both printed an edition of 25 handkerchiefs, and sent a printed handkerchief along with a blank handkerchief to 50 invited artists to intervene with their own reflections
on home, identity and belonging. From this exchange a “wandering genealogy” was born, a tribute to the strong threads that have woven this shared territory as itinerant artists and educators.

A limited edition catalogue including the work of 50 invited artists was published by Impact Press, Bristol, UK and includes an essay by Gill Saunders, Senior Curator of Prints, Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Currently, the catalogs of workshops and portfolios remain as digital publications, thus allowing to document the constant growth of this genealogy. Chris Knollmeyer, a sound artist in residence at ´ace at the same time, composed for this exhibition a special piece: “Sound of the Handkerchiefs”. The piece is a piano study made up of 25 melodies. Just as the handkerchiefs are tied to each artist’s history and sense of home, Chris feels a connection to the piano.

Graciela Sacco
In Memoriam
Claudia DeMonte
Guest artist

March 23, 7PM. Sala Políglota
April 27th, 1PM

The World is a Handkerchief |El mundo es un pañuelo

2019 | London Print Studio Gallery, London, UK
2020 | Galería Blackburn 20|20, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts,New York, USA
2021 | IMPACT11, Hong Kong, China
Catalogues | Instagram  |Vimeo


Artist-in-Residence International Program

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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 #2
Residencies 2024

April 30th, 2024

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