(wwl) a more curious world

September 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

When I was a child, I was given a calendar, maybe my first calendar with pictures. And it wasn’t something specifically for children, it had pictures that fascinated me. Flowers, trees. Leaves drifting on rivers, chestnut tree branches intertwined with lianas, berries tinted with pink. Nature rearranged by the artist’s hand and taken in photograph. Ephemeral poetic works — no, games, with water, air and earth. I didn’t know, back then, this was called “Land Art” and that specific calendar was made from a collection of pictures by German photographer Nils-Udo.

Flowers and dam (Reunion Island)

These days are the last ones to see an exhibition on his work in Paris (L’Adresse, Musée de la Poste). Nils Udo started with painting, but turned to photography when he realised painting didn’t fulfill his expectations. He felt he couldn’t express properly what nature meant to him, and what the environment had to say. In 1972, he started to take pictures of “natural” installations, which tends now to relate him to the Land Art movement, born in the US around 1967 — although the artist somehow contests this relation. Essentially ephemeral, his creations are often made of the most fragile elements, mainly to symbolize how frail and precious life can be. There’s a will in Nils Udo to express how powerfully creative nature can be. So he builds strange scaffolding looking like Indonesian altars struggling against the wind. Or else, huge nests that shelter – or not – a grey human being returned to a foetal state.

The Nest (US)

He is a great traveller. Venezuela, Chile, Germany, France, Namibia, all these countries inspired him. He picked material from each place’s own landscapes and built from what they had to give and show humanity. What’s more and touching me personally is that he took several pictures in my home island, Reunion.

Lava with line of petals (Reunion Island)

My eye is a mirror. Your hands can be sculptors. Our hearts could be plants.

ALL pictures, property of NILS-UDO.

I also wish to redirect you to this page, if you want to know more about Nils-Udo’s work.


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