Uriel Orlow: Made / Unmade

26 june 2015 - 11 october 2015

curated by Marcella Beccaria

Castello di Rivoli presents Uriel Orlow: Made / Unmade, the artist’s first exhibition in an Italian museum. In his work, Orlow engages with the way the past emerges and lives on in the present and often repeats itself, questioning linear chronology. “Avoiding direct narrative representation, Orlow’s works prompt each visitor to fill in the gaps and engage in a dialogue with the current reality, and with the role, our historical consciousness can have in shaping a different future in our own present”, says curator Marcella Beccaria.

Uriel Orlow: Made / Unmade, includes both new and key recent works, such as Unmade Film (2012-2013). Conceived as an expansive series of audio-visual installations that point to the structure of a film but never fully become one, Unmade Film takes on the form of an impossible film fragmented into its constituent parts; works on paper, photographs, video, a surround sound installation, a vinyl record and a 16mm film. Unmade Film takes as its starting point the at once emblematic yet wholly invisible Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. Formerly on the outskirts of Jerusalem, its inhabitants were massacred in 1948 by Zionist paramilitary forces before the psychiatric hospital of Kfar Sha’ul was set up in the remaining Palestinian homes to care for Holocaust survivors. Oscillating between the visible and the invisible, Unmade Film is an attempt to acknowledge the painful temporal and spatial intermingling of traumas which cannot be compared but tragically collide in a single place.

In the setting of 13 historical rooms of the Castello di Rivoli, the exhibition creates a dialogue with other important works by the artist, ranging from one of the artist’s first works 1942 (Poznan) (1996-2002)to the ongoing series of neon works History is the Future / The Future is History(2013-2015) and the artist’s most recent project Grey, Green, Gold(2015).

This first installation of an evolving body of research enmeshes accounts of the garden set up by Nelson Mandela and his fellow inmates at Robben Island Prison during their 18 years there with the story of the discovery and subsequent selective breeding of a rare yellow version of the Strelitzia Reginae / Bird of Paradise Flower at Kirstenbosch, the South African National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town. It took almost 20 years to build up stock of this highly prized seed – roughly coinciding with Mandela’s imprisonment and in 1994 the flower was named in his honor.

In Uriel Orlow: Made / Unmade the artist brings different image-regimes and narrative modes into correspondence and prompts blind-spots and micro-narratives to reverberate in larger historical contexts.

Uriel Orlow is a Swiss-born, London based artist with a mixed background. Recent solo exhibitions include John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; Depo, Istanbul; Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem, ACAF Alexandria, Les Complices* Zurich, Centre PasquArt Biel; CCS Paris; Spike Island, Bristol; Jewish Museum New York. Orlow’s work has also been presented at major survey exhibitions including the 54th Venice Biennale; Manifesta 9, Genk; Recent British Artists Film and Videoat Tate Britain, London; Bergen Assembly;8th Mercosul Biennial, Brazil and the Aichi and Guangzhou Triennales. Orlow’s work has been screened in film-festivals and included in group shows internationally, including Tate Modern, Whitechapel Gallery, ICA and Gasworks, London; Palais de Tokyo, Fondation Ricard, Paris; Kunsthaus Zurich; Centre d’Art Contemporain and Centre de la Photographie, Geneva; Contemporary Image Collective (CIC), Cairo; Casa del Lago, Mexico City; Kunsthalle Budapest amongst others. Orlow is a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art London, senior research fellow at University of Westminster, London and teaches at the University of the Arts, Zurich and University of the Arts, Geneva.