Histórias Enraizadas by Uriel Orlow

Uriel Orlow is a Swiss artist, living in Lisbon, who has developed an intense work on nature and botany.

Unlike many artists who contemplatively approach the nature of plants, Orlow, with his passive study, shows the other side of plants and how they can be dynamic agents, acting in the environment and changing the course of nature.

Through constant research, Orlow uses multidisciplinary means to spread the word about what plants can offer and trigger. In the exhibition Histórias Enraizadas, at Casa da Cerca, in Almada, we can see the large video installation Up, Up, Up (2021). Biologist Sonja Wipf appears in the video, amidst a sweeping landscape, viewing the soils on the summits of the Swiss Alps at Piz Linard and Gorihorn. She is looking for indigenous species – small, delicate plants that have an ancient knowledge of the place and know how to survive in an extremely cold and harsh climate. The biologist is unhappy to find that, with time and global warming, the natural species are disappearing, replaced by others that rise in altitude, when they used to be confined to the landscape’s lowest points. These are plants that communicate the global state of the planet.

Orlow allows us to understand that nature moves away from the idea of humans as the centre of things, as beings superior to other creatures. He sees plants as human allies, with a primordial place. Through their behaviour, they can transmit primordial knowledge to humans so that they can find a way to regulate and connect with nature, as well as recover wealth and knowledge. The survival of the species is at stake and plants may have answers, putting nature in the position of providing the wisdom that humans do not want to listen to but that can save them.

It is urgent to invert the reference perspective, in ecocentrism – removing human beings from the centre,[1] placing them in an objective relationship with the world, and not in a connection centred on anthropocentrism, or on their subjective, or even self-interested gaze.

Orlow also emphasises the colonial angle placed on plants, and how man, in his superiority, decides the fate of other species.

Orlow feels it is necessary to look with green glasses.

We must also watch the video installation Dedication. Through several rectangular screens, irregularly laid out on the gallery floor, Orlow displays the symbiotic systems between roots and fungi[2] that are invisible to the human eye. Underground root systems that make nutrient exchange possible and allow trees to communicate with each other[3].

Histórias Enraizadas by Uriel Orlow at Casa da Cerca’s Main Gallery – Contemporary Art Centre until 5 March.




[1] Maria do Céu Patrão Neves e Viriato Soromelho-Marques, in “A consciência do Mundo”, Ética Aplicada –Ambiente. Edições 70. Pág. 14 – 15.

[2] As explained in the caption of the exhibition installation “Histórias Enraizadas”, at Casa da Cerca

[3] Ibidem.

Carla Carbone was born in Lisbon, 1971. She studied Drawing in and Design of Equipment at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon. Completed his Masters in Visual Arts Teaching. She writes about Design since 1999, first in the newspaper O Independente, then in editions like Anuário de Design, arq.a magazine, DIF, Parq. She also participates in editions such as FRAME, Diário Digital, Wrongwrong, and in the collection of Portuguese designers, edited by the newspaper Público. She collaborated with illustrations for Fanzine Flanzine and Gerador magazine. (photo: Eurico Lino Vale)

Signup for our newsletter!

I accept the Privacy Policy

Subscribe Umbigo

4 issues > €34

(free shipping to Portugal)