Gabriela Albergaria

Nature Abhors A Straight Line


Nature Abhors a Straight Line is the title of the artist’s first survey exhibition, covering the last 16 years of her work in various media, including sculpture, drawing, photography and multiples. 
Gabriela Albergaria (Vale de Cambra, Portugal, 1965) is interested in the human relationship with Nature and in the ways it is represented. 
The central concerns of this exhibition are the border and zone of conflict between Nature and the modern process of its appropriation and dominance by Man, a question the artist tackles in several settings that engage with the history of plant species migrations and how these are used for cultural, economic and ultimately violent exploitation. 


Gabriela Albergaria, Nature Abhors A Straight Line, Culturgest 2020. Courtesy the artist and Culturgest

The main focuses of Gabriela Albergaria's research and work are Landscape as a human construct, and the aesthetic, economical and sociocultural organisation of territories, not only as they are marked by history, but also as they are imbued with political meanings. Insofar as they form part of our urban interface with nature, gardens are a recurring element in her work primarily due to their status as complex zones of negotiation between the planning of their architecture and the recreational, scientific or celebratory needs that condition their construction. As one of the artist's main fields of research, the notion of the garden is thus perennially hinted at in her hybrid and symbiotic works which can be observed throughout the exhibition. 


Gabriela Albergaria's first anthological exhibition follows closely the many chapters of her journey and reflects on her activity over the last 16 years. Bringing together works produced in Germany, Colombia, Brazil, the United Kingdom and Belgium, this exhibition is a chance to see or to revisit significant pieces of the artist's body of work, as is, for instance, the installation she created at CCB in 2005 – a massive tree that has been subject to a potent grafting process –, but also to view a set of works presented here for the first time.

The assimilation effects of landscape and nature that happened due to migration movements and globalization have been at the centre of Gabriela Albergaria's attention since the 1990s. Her sculptures, installations, photographs or drawings, embody the artist’s systematic reflection on subjects, such as, the influence of human action in landscape transformation, the modification of ecosystems as a result of the introduction of non-native plant species or the history of the taming of nature as recorded in the creation of 18th century botanical gardens.

Throughout her work, Gabriela Albergaria’s creations have always been depicted in such a way that translates her aim to reveal the historical and perceptual practices inherent to the appropriation and manipulation of the plant world made by Man over the centuries. This exhibition is part of the Lisbon Capital Verde programme.

- Delfim Sardo, curator

Gabriela Albergaria, Nature Abhors A Straight Line, Culturgest 2020. Courtesy the artist and Culturgest


Alongside reconstructions of some of her seminal large-scale pieces, this exhibition also includes sets of works that resulted from research travels carried out in the Amazon and in Redwood National Park, where some of the most impressive tree species in North America can be found. In these works one can see very clearly the artist’s urge to catalogue and research, almost like a scientist, the most diversified phenomena in the vegetal realm – an empathetic knowledge committed to establish material, aesthetic and discursive relations that show us new perspectives to our place and role in the natural world. 

Nature Abhors a Straight Line is thus not only an exercise in critical thinking about our relationship with Nature, but also about how we approach the representation of Nature and Nature's cycles within ourselves. 


Gabriela Albergaria, Nature Abhors A Straight Line, Culturgest 2020. Courtesy the artist and Culturgest