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Helena Martin Franco. Freehand Absence.

Date and time
Monday, April 12, 2021

Helena Martin Franco. Freehand Absence.

By Daniel Fiset

As part of our public engagement project Incandescences, organized in conjunction with the exhibition Lee Bae: UNION, four artists will propose reactivations of the PHI Foundation’s archives.

Our first invited artist, Helena Martin Franco, has been interested in the traces of coloniality found within contemporary institutions. Her intervention, entitled Absence à main levée/Freehand Absence/Ausencia a mano alzada, is two-fold. First, she presents a poem-lecture that is conceived as a point of junction between her research process and the public presentation of her findings. The text links fragments of the Foundation’s archives to recent artistic, social and political events and phenomena, and is accompanied by a list of references which allows the public to think further about these links.

Helena then conceived a performance which was broadcast live on the PHI Foundation’s website on April 6, 2021. Taking place in the education room which hosts our archives, this performance reintegrates some materials used in the artist’s initial explorations, such as charcoal, cardboard and masking tape. These materials evoke dynamics between the centre and the periphery which are at the heart of her research. By thinking of the frame of the video and her own body as contours to retrace (and to redefine), Freehand Absence makes public the artist’s reflections by allowing them to step out of their initial settings.

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