December 2, 2022 - February 25, 2023

Making Soil


LMNO has the pleasure of informing you that is has embarked on a new collaboration with Gabriela Albergaria (1965, Vale de Cambra, Portugal).

Since the 1990?s this Portuguese artist has been focusing the considerable diversity of her work on one central theme: nature. Gabriela Albergaria studies the specific features of gardens and landscapes and their role as testimonies to a nature that has been transported, tampered with, and conserved. Her work takes on diverse forms, such as photography, drawing, poetry, installation and sculpture. The artist plays with the effects of transformation, fermentation and fugacity, all of  them major elements in the processes of nature, crucial to the renewal and sustainability of all forms of life.

This will be Gabriela Albergaria?s first solo exhibition in Belgium.  
The drawings and the sculpture presented here by Gabriela Albergaria were inspired by Wendell Berry?s book The Work of Local Culture (1988), the story of a bucket hanging from a fence, collecting rain, snow and leaves. Over the course of time those natural inputs have created a wet, rotting  base, producing an entirely new layer of soil. Making Soil, the title of the exhibition, is a phrase from the book.

The drawings play with the idea of an imagined landscape, since the two parts of the work, one of them a photograph, the other a drawing, do not necessarily actually combine into a whole.  However, they are complementary.

The central piece, Pinch Pinch Pinch, refers to permaculture and to the fertile soils disappearing gradually all over the planet because of all sorts of misuse and overexploitation. The support, made out of the soil gathered in the Fa woods, uses an age-old technique of trodden earth construction. This base is covered with a multitude of cubes of earth, some of which contain seeds of non-GMO beans. This reminder of intensive agriculture, which exhausts the soil, can also be found in the very dimensions of the sculpture, since it is made up of  twenty-five 30cm by 30cm  squares, corresponding to the size of  the machines seeding agricultural land. The thickness of the support, between 20 and 25 cm of soil, corresponds for its part to the average thickness of fertile soil on the planet.  Each cube at the centre of a 30cm area contains one seed.

The nature all round Brussels plays a pivotal role in this exhibition. The places where the soil is collected have a significant role for the artist. The north of Portugal of which she is a native, the Sonian Forest and the Bois de Fa, all these are not mere sources for materials, but places that are deeply involved in the artist?s creative process and in her inspiration.    

Gabriela Albergaria's work was among others presented at Culturgest in 2020/2021, with a solo exhibition entitle Nature Abhors a Straight Line, curated by Delfim Sardo, in Sheffield Park in 2018 with Inanimate Object, or the complete cycle of the soil, and at the Kreeger Museum, also in 2018, with Segunda Natureza. She is currently on view at the VNBM, an exhibition entitled Lugares restos ?Remnant-Spaces.