What is the color of green?

Gabriela Albergaria
23.02.10 → 22.04.09

House of Portugal - André de Gouveia

Curated by: BCU (Bored Curators United), Silvia Guerra, and Chiara Vecchiarelli

Opening reception on February 10th from 6 pm to 9 pm

Some cultures have many names for a single color, such as white for people who live in snowy places. From the moment we look at green, when our ecological awareness becomes perceptive, which greens do we see? What happens when these colors manifest their own personalities? How can we translate these colors, which are as different from each other as they are from each other, into images? In this margin that becomes the space of the work, in the experience of drawing as both a collaborative and poetic practice, green opens up to a whole range of possibilities, becoming the very image of a shared possibility, of a nature that constitutes us, conceived beyond all separation.

On the premises of the library of the Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian - Délégation en France and in dialogue with its collections, Gabriela Albergaria presents a work whose preparation was preceded by a drawing workshop led by the artist in the park of the Cité Universitaire de Paris and the premises of the cneai =. A place where cultures converge, the Cité Universitaire offers itself as the ideal setting for a meeting of minds around a single color capable of accommodating all the nuances we haven’t yet seen, haven’t yet glimpsed, perhaps haven’t yet created. Where are the colors? In the world, as Bergson thought, or in our minds? Or, perhaps, in an in-between place that it’s up to us to create? With a view to sharing views, the artist has worked on the question that gives the exhibition its title through the practice of drawing, making artistic research a form of opening onto new knowledge, both plastic and linguistic in character. Chiara Vecchiarelli

This is not a fixed exhibition in a single location. It is an experience nourished by the encounter with the contingencies of the world, of life. Nature is the source of Gabriela Albergaria’s work, nature before it is named, before it is even associated with green as its own color. For the artist, it’s an experience in the transmission of drawing, and above all in the transmission of her observation of the world, even on the scale of a garden like that of the Cité Universitaire. In the library, his drawings and collages will interact with books that have also been traveling for a long time, like the Gulbenkian’s mobile libraries. Today, you are invited to take part in this observation and journey into the heart of green. Silvia Guerra

“The starting point for these drawings was a drawing workshop. For four days I worked with a group of people, some connected with art, others not at all. The idea was to experience the exterior of the Cité Universitaire garden and use it as a model to start drawing experiments in green, observation and representation. We used traditional drawing materials such as pencil, crayon, watercolor pastels… We experimented with materials and ways of seeing. I suggested a few starting points, such as choosing a detail and bringing the eyes together using macro and micro observation, and then using materials to draw or write about what is being seen. I also suggested words as starting points, such as “accumulation”. How do you see the different planes and lines? Use this observation to make drawings. My proposal to work with people who can’t draw has a lot to do with drawing’s ability to awaken the senses, to develop a connection between the eyes/brain/hand, to reduce speed and give the chance to see better, to rediscover gestures, to use and try out new ones. These are exercises that activate the senses, that build freedom in the sense that they allow us to avoid the cliché of representation and try out new things. The drawings I’ve made follow exactly these exercises. I made them trying to use this same starting point, and my own sketches from the studio.” Gabriela Albergaria


Gabriela Albergaria
Gabriela Albergaria’s work involves a particular territory: nature. A manipulated, planted, transported, hierarchized, cataloged, studied, felt, and remembered nature through the ongoing exploration of gardens in photography, drawing, and sculpture. The artist regards gardens as elaborate constructions, systems of representation, and descriptive mechanisms that embody a set of fictive beliefs used to represent the natural world. Gardens also serve as environments dedicated to leisure and study, cultural and social processes that produce a historical understanding of knowledge and pleasure. More broadly, the images of gardens and plant species employed by the artist function as devices to reveal processes of cultural change through which visions of nature emerge. Mediated by representation systems, they generate different versions of what we consider a landscape — itself a complex system of material structures and visual hierarchies, cultural constructs defining the framing of our visual field. Since 1999, Albergaria has exhibited regularly worldwide.

Exhibitions and recent installations include: Nature Abhors a Straight Line (Culturgest Lisboa, 2020 – 2021); Oréades (Embassy of Portugal in Brasilia, 2021); Nature’s Afterlives (Sapar Contemporary, New York, 2021); …an adventure in which humans are only one kind of participant… (Galeria Vera Cortês, Lisbon, 2019); Ridge and Furrow (Vala e Cômoro) (Jardin des peintres/Jardin botanique du centre d’art Casa da Cerca, Almada/Lisbon, 2019).

Group exhibitions include: Zona da Mata (Part I MAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Part II Mac/USP Museu de Arte Contemporânea, da Universidade de São Paulo, 2021); Drawing Power – Children of Compost (Frac Picardie and Drawing Lab Paris, 2021); No Reino das Nuvens – Os Artistas e a Invenção de Sintra (MU.SA Museum of the Arts of Sintra Prickley, 2021); Tudo o que eu quero – Artistas portuguesas de 1900 a 2020 (Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian, 2021); Land Ho (Galeria Ponce+Robles, 2021); Voisin de Campagne #2 (Matter-of-Fact / Les pieds sur terre) (Normandie, 2021); Tree Time (MUSE – Museum of Science, Trento, Italy, 2020-2021).

Residencies include the Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center (Winter Workshop 2012), the Botanic Garden of the University of Oxford in collaboration with the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford (2009-2010), Villa Arson, the National Center for Contemporary Art, Nice, France (2008).

Bored Curators United
Bored Curators United (BCU) is a curatorial duo founded by Silvia Guerra and Chiara Vecchiarelli in 2021, with Raquel Estrocio also contributing as a scenographer. BCU emerged from the necessity of exhibiting contemporary art during a period of restrictions and limited access to art spaces, where priority was given to the dematerialized digital universe. Initially, BCU aimed to create physical interstices in a public space that had significantly contracted due to pandemic-imposed health measures. BCU doesn’t own a permanent exhibition space; its mission is to occupy temporarily disused locations situated between private and public realms, as well as to supplement institutional programs, integrating or redirecting their focus toward the collective and poetic dimension of art. The first series of BCU exhibitions was named Cinéma du présent, inspired by the book-poem by Canadian poet Lisa Robertson, who, in turn, borrowed the title from Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa. Each Cinéma du présent exhibition is designed as a session of images displayed on the city’s windows, signaling both the cinematic dimension of the city as a viewing device and the ability of images to suggest, even in the suspension of photographic images, the movement of life that continues to flow through us.

Silvia Guerra
Art critic and curator, Silvia Guerra studied art history in Coimbra (Portugal) and at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice (Italy). Following three years as head of the internationalization section of contemporary art at the Portuguese Ministry of Culture’s institute of arts, where she produced the Portuguese national pavilions with artists such as Pedro Cabrita Reis (2003) and Helena Almeida (2005), Guerra began her work as an independent curator in 2006. This led to exhibitions like Under Hitchcock (Solar, Vila do Conde, 2007), Les Sans Nom – Portrait d’un pays sans signature (Trafico, Lisbon, 2009), and Readings in Times of Crisis (Porto, Loulé, Lisbon, Paris, 2009-2010). In the latter conservation project, Guerra explored how to exhibit ideas rather than artworks and replace the theoretical references of the early century with new ones formulated by Boris Groys, Giorgio Agamben, or Peter Sloterdijk. Guerra has been the artistic director of Lab’Bel since 2010. She curated collective exhibitions such as Rewind (La Maison de La vache qui rit, 2010), Art for Life / Art for a Living (Barcelona, 2011), Au Lait ! Quand l’art déborde (La Maison de La vache qui rit, 2012), Touching the Moon (Galerie 5, Angers 2012), Stories Without Witches (LMVQR, 2015), La Collection mise à nue par ses artistes, même (2016), Metaphoria I(Museu Arqueologico de Guimarães, Portugal, 2012), Metaphoria II (Athens, 2013). She also curated three monographic projects for Lab’Bel, exploring the connection between art and iconic modernist architecture: The World Trapped in the Sel: Mirrors from Windows Stefan Brüggemann at the Mies Van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona (2011), The Light Hour: Haroon Mirza at Villa Savoye Le Corbusier in the summer of 2014, and La Politesse de Wassermann by Laëtitia Badaut Haussmann at Maison Louis Carré in 2017. Metaphoria III (104, Paris, 2019), Time Capsules (Beaux-Arts de Paris, 2021), and Elle rit (Palais de Tokyo, 2021). In 2021, she co-founded Bored Curators United with Chiara Vecchiarelli and Raquel Estrocio, presenting the series Cinema of the Present, inspired by the eponymous work of Canadian poet Lisa Robertson.

Chiara Vecchiarelli
Chiara Vecchiarelli is a researcher, art critic and curator. She teaches Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle and the Paris College of Art, and designed the research seminar Le Présent de l’image at the École normale supérieure de Paris, where she is conducting her doctoral research on the vital function of the image in the light of an ontology of relation. She previously worked on the notion of idleness in the work of art under the direction of Giorgio Agamben, studying in Venice and at NYU. She participated in dOCUMENTA (13) as Curatorial Researcher and curator of the Research Section (2012-2009); she curated the exhibition program of the Emily Harvey Foundation, NYC (2013-2012); she conceived for the Fondation Pinault - Palazzo Grassi, the program of lectures by philosophers and screenings of artists’ films L’Image-chose (Venice, 2016) ; she is co-curator of the Public Programme at the Istanbul Biennale (2015); she designs the performance programs Performing the Gallery and Spacetime Lectures (MAMo Museum, seven scientific museums of the city of Bologna and its art fair, 2018-2017). She is also curating Heels (Flash Art, Milan, 2021); Beyond the Face (Pietrasanta, 2021); Ups and Downs of a Flipped Planet with Iván Argote, Eliza Douglas and Jojo Gronostay (Vienna, 2020); Arrivederci(MAN Museum, Nuoro and Villa Croce Museum, Genoa, 2016); A House Freed from its Floors (MeetFactory Prague, 2015); Simone Forti: Dance Constructions, a Logomotion and a Reading (Palazzo dei Armeniani and Fondation Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, 2010 ); Cage-Kaprow-Fluxus (Palazzo dei Armeniani, Venice, 2009); In Between-Arada-Tra with Antoni Muntadas, (Tophane-i Amire, Istanbul Capital of Culture 2010; Floating World (Palazzo dei Prisoni, Venice 2008). She has written numerous essays, articles and edited books for Sternberg Press, Hauser & Wirth Publishing, Éditions des Beaux Arts de Paris, Flash Art, Humbodlt Books, Mousse Publishing, Nero, Cura, Skira and others. She has curated the Maxxi-Bulgari Prize and the Furla Prize. She is a member of the coordinating committee of the Permanent Forum of Italian Contemporary Art and on the editorial board of Oboe - Journal on Biennials and Other Exhibitions. In 2021, together with Silvia Guerra and Raquel Estrocio, she founded Bored Curators United and, with Guerra, curated the exhibition program Cinéma du Présent.

This project is supported by the Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian -Délégation en France, which has co-financed it as part of the EXPOSITIONS GULBENKIAN program to support Portuguese art in French art institutions.

{Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Gulbenkian Library
Maison du Portugal
7p, Bd Jourdan
75014 Paris

RER B - Cité Universitaire
Tram T3a - Cité Universitaire

Phone: 01 53 85 93 90
Email: bibliotheque@gulbenkian-paris.org

{Fondation Calouste Gulbenkian} {Maison du Portugal - André de Gouveia} {Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris} {Ministère de la Culture} {Région Ile-de-France}

{Gabriela Albergaria}