NILS-UDO (1937)

Leader of the "Art in Nature" movement, Nils-Udo, born in 1937, has been conducting artistic experiments in and with nature all over the world since the 1970s. More than any other artist, he draws conclusions with a rare coherence through two modes of expression: sculpture in the landscape, which combines art with living matter, and photography, artistic expression as much as a means of "recording" and disseminating the work. "Whatever the place chosen for his installations, in our latitudes or at the other end of the earth, whatever the scale of the work - infinitely large or infinitely small - that he patiently constructs, Nils-Udo, who was first a painter and has become one again, has always "worked with and on nature". A chiseller of moments of eternity, a sensitive, precise and rigorous author of scenes of absolute power and grace, he has tirelessly pursued this dialogue with nature, which he began in the 1970s - following his studies of graphic arts in Nuremberg and his long stay in Paris - and which he has continued since then on all continents. Whether he is playing with huge pine or bamboo trunks, assembled to build one of these giant nests, whose shape obsesses him and which he installs everywhere, or whether he arranges one by one tiny berries, graceful flowers, fine branches or delicate roots picked up during his walks, he transforms the simplest materials into a poetic vision, which he hastens to fix by photography, before it fades away. We know Nils-Udo's passion for nests, a fundamental form that he never ceases to recreate and which marks his obsession with a lost paradise, a matrix nature, a refuge. The nest represents the shelter, the point of departure and completion of procreation. Nils-Udo's work also includes many arches, porches and doors, like those of his "water houses" or those that open onto the horizon. These doors are openings towards a beyond of the first perception, towards an invisible, a depth that let glimpse the beauty, the sublime, "the utopia" that Nils-Udo perceives "under every stone", "on every leaf", "behind every tree", "in the clouds and the wind." Nils-Udo, Gourcuff Gradenigo Editions.
Text by Chantal Colleu-Dumond.