Uriel Orlow’s videos, audio works, photographs and installations explore history’s blind spots, and expose hidden stories that official narratives ignore. Inspired by South Africa’s National Botanical Garden, his major ten-part work, Theatrum Botanicum (2015-20), reflects the part that the natural world has played in the history of colonialism, with all its traumas, injustices, hauntings and obsessions. Crucially, it draws attention to the obliteration of indigenous knowledge through colonial conquest and the simultaneous exploitation of natural resources. Made in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Learning from Artemisia (2019) extends Orlow’s investigation into the relationship between plants and politics, focusing on Artemisia afra, a native medicinal plant with anti-malarial properties.
Uriel Orlow (born 1973, Zurich, Switzerland) lives and works in London and Lisbon. Orlow studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.
Dialogue forms the basis of everything in my artistic practice. I always view myself as being in a dialogue with the world, with others … Dialogue is predicated on keeping an open eye and an open ear: looking, noticing, listening, and asking questions.
– Uriel Orlow