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Plant Echoes | Galleria Laveronica, Modica

In this exhibition, Orlow’s interest in how colonialist categorisation expunges indigenous systems of knowledge and belonging, took him to South Africa. Here, he found that not only did the British and Dutch re-name indigenous plants and try to eradicate as dangerous the use of herbal remedies, they also imported 9000 different exotic plants, many of which choked local flora. Orlow’s extraordinary new body of work uses plants as a potent lens through which to explore the socio-political, economic and spiritual ramifications of colonialisation.

Orlow focuses on the important role of medicinal herbs or ‘muthi’ in South African culture, with 60% of the population consulting a healer, who can choose from over 3000 plant species. With European pharmaceuticals exploiting the market for ’natural’ cures, a new front has opened in the contest of who owns what the land grows, has always grown. In ‘What Plants Were Called Before They Had A Name’ (2015-ongoing), male, female and collective voices recite the names of native plants in ten African languages, from isiZulu and SePedi to isiXhosa and Khoi, which had no legitimacy under a Latin taxonomy. ‘Language relates to politics,’ says Orlow, ‘and plant classification can be a form of epistemic violence’ In this sense, the surround sound audio piece acts as a restorative and moving oral dictionary.

‘Echoes’ (2017) is a series of photographs of dried brown sap stains on protective paper from botanical repositories in South African herbaria which date back to the colonial era of exploration. The tracings tell nothing of the traditional names or uses of the plants and highlight the imposition of a one-dimensional classification system that was revered as objective and unrivalled. It’s difficult to look at these frail residues, which contrast the tending delicacy of the botanists working amidst the cruel and murderous savagery of apartheid and colonialism before.

‘The Fairest Heritage’ (2016-17), poignantly intercepts a version of history. During his research, Orlow discovered a film made in 1963 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Kirstenbosch, the national botanical gardens of South Africa. Only three years after the Sharpeville Massacre and a year before Mandela’s incarceration for life on Robben Island, fifty international botanists toured South Africa, in a whites-only garden party. Orlow invited an African actor, Lindiwe Matshikiza, to interact with the projected images, delivering an elegantly silent addendum to the past, when the trade in exotic flowers evaded the boycott of South African goods till the late 1980s.

In this show, Orlow continues and develops his sensitive and pertinent re-working of histories, staging old documents in new settings, giving voice to those who have been muted to reconsider how agency can be re-enforced by art.

On 31. March at 14:45 there will be a film screening followed by a conversation between Uriel Orlow and Gabi Scardi at Cinema Aurora, Modica.


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YOU NEVER KNOW THE WHOLE STORY | Kunstmuseum, Bern

With this exhibition, the Kunstmuseum Bern gives a subjective insight into the most important artistic trends since the beginning of the new media age.

With works by Judith Albert, Max Almy, Hanspeter Ammann, Knut Åsdam, Klaus vom Bruch, Balthasar Burkhard, Dimitri Devyatkin, Herbert Distel, AK Dolven, Chris Evans, Peter Fischli / David Weiss, Kit Fitzgerald, Herbert Fritsch, Michael von Graffenried, Luzia Hürzeler, Ute Friederike Juerz, Jutta Koether, Jochen Kuhn, Muriel Kunz, Maria Lassnig, Les Levine, Mark Lewis, Carlo E. Lischetti, MadeIn Company, Cory McCorkle, Gerald Minkoff, Tatsuyo Miyajima, Irene Muñoz Martin, Muriel Olesen, Uriel Orlov, May-Thu Perret, Elodie Pong, Sean Scully, René Pulfer, Markus Raetz, Pamela Rosary, Christoph Rütimann, Francisco Sierra, Tom Skapoda, Edin Velez, Christian Vetter, Bill Viola, Anna Winteler, Camilo Yañez.


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Kunstszene Zürich | Helmhaus

A group exhibition featuring works by Ian Anüll, Istvan Balogh, Sabian Baumann, Vanessa Billy, Sandra Boeschenstein, Reto Boller, Anton Bruhin, Brigitte Dätwyler, Cédric Eisenring, Robert Estermann, Garret Nelson, Florian Germann, Patrick Graf, Michéle Graf & Selina Grüter, Colin Guillemet, Raphael Hefti, Cécile Huber, Thomas Julier, San Keller, Franziska Koch, Petra Köhle / Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin, Miriam Laura Leonardi, Tobias Madison, Fabian Marti, Media Group Bitnik, Dieter Meier, Mélodie Mousset, Jos Näpflin, Yves Netzhammer, Uriel Orlow, Elodie Pong, Jessica Pooch, RELAX chiarenza & hauser & co, Riika Tauriainen, Romy Rüegger, Karin Sander, Katja Schenker, Doris Stauffer, Eva Stürmlin, and Sebastian Utzni.


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Choreography of the Frame | Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna

The exhibition Choreography of the Frame investigates and negotiates positions and strategies of image production – through conceptual or technical frameworks and shifts in the context of photography and moving image, images and statements are redefined and re-contextualised. The dissolution of established genre ascriptions, borders, and frameworks by individual artistic practices and strategies calls for a re-examination of the image.

Be it an enlarged photograph that takes on the dimensions of a wall or a space, a photograph that is folded into a sculpture, a photographic or filmic work that expands the mise-en-cadre to include or thematise the underlying conditions of image production – in all of the exhibited works the conventions are suspended, while the production process itself and its mechanisms, logics, and conditions are brought into focus.

With works by Marwa Arsanios, Gwenneth Boelens, Maia Gusberti, Yasmina Haddad, Herbert Hofer, Tatiana Lecomte, Gabriela Löffel, Claudia Märzendorfer, Charlotte Moth, Uriel Orlow, Pascal Petignat / Martin Scholz, Klaus Scherübel, Michaela Schwentner, Lina Selander

Curated by Maia Gusberti and Michaela Schwentner


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Grey, Green, Gold (and Red) | Manifesta 12, Palermo

The lecture performance Grey, Green, Gold (and Red) considers plants and gardens as active agents in politics. Following human-plant entanglements, Grey, Green, Gold (and Red) explores the role played by the garden Nelson Mandela and his fellow inmates planted on Robben Island prison during their 18-year incarceration, the implications of an ongoing battle between a flower and a squirrel, as well as the fate of alien species in Europe and South Africa.


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Art & Film | Nona, Mechelen

In collaboration with Filmhuis Mechelen and Academie Mechelen, in the context of  Un | arranged, a screening of 7 fascinating short films in which the theme of displacement – the feeling of being uprooted, degenerated, being somewhere other than what one experiences as home – plays an important role plays.

Curated by Hans Martens director of Academy Mechelen, and Fleur van Muiswinkel artistic coordinator visual arts and performing arts, NONA.


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