Nils Udo and the Land Art

24 10 2007

I would like to talk to you about my favorite artist: Nils Udo. I am quite sure that you do not know him. Let me introduce him to you.

Nils Udo is connected with the movement of the Land art, appeared in the 60s. These artists wanted to insert the nature into the art, even to consider it as art for sake. They also tried to determine in which measures we all act on the nature, individually (a ston throw in water, a cut leaf). So, they developed a short-lived art, completely constituted of natural materials.

For example, Walter de Maria planted in a field 400 masts of steel ready to receive the lightning to multiply the effect of this one and the spectacle which ensues from it, Robert Smithson built an immense pier in the form of spiral on a lake, Christo packed cliffs of fabric of nylon. And we could enumerate many others example … These artists never met each other but critics grouped them together them under the terms of Land art or Earth Art.




Pictures in order from left to right :
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, Utah, 1970.
Walter De Maria, The Lightning Field, New Mexico, 1977.

Let‘s focus on Nils Udo.

When he speaks about his artistic step, Nils-Udo uses these terms: Nature-Art-Nature (Natur-Kunst-Natur in German).

Natur: ” in the forest. My glance can settle wherever. Everywhere where I look, I could begin a work.” At first, our man becomes soaked with what surrounds him, strolls, observes, admires.

Kunst: then he is inspired by such element, such color, such shape, such place. Then he composes, as we would compose a picture. He plants bamboo assembled with other vegetables, he puts flowers on water, he realizes a bed of berries on the ground … His work is born in the nature.

Natur: but Nils-Udo does not stop there. He composes with the nature, with the seasons, the climate. Then after the artist, the nature is going to intervene in his turn, randomly, is going to resume its position. And so flowers tumble down the brook, and so sculptures are covered by the vegetation or trampled by sheeps, that the work does not consist over the moment but that it is necessary to wait that bamboo grows. Then the sculptor leaves place to the photographer.



Pictures in order from left to right :
Nils-Udo, No title, Reunion Island, Indian Ocean, 1990.
Nils-Udo, No title, Yonne, France, 2000.
Nils-Udo, No title, Central Park, New York, USA, 1991.
Nils-Udo, Cercle de bambou-calumet, Reunion Island, Indian Ocean, 1990.

All plant or mineral is material to create : snow, flowers, leaves, berries, forest, water, stones, desert … But he does not exclude either human of his work and often built nests in the nature to realize then photos of these structures lived by human bodies. This type of creation gave place to numerous state commissions. But we do not cross a sculpture of Nils-Udo in every cornerof garden … On the other hand, you maybe already perceived his universe in advertisements such as the film of launch of the perfume Mahora de Guerlain for whom he intervened in the desert. But the artist does not wait for the orders to create, he can multiply creation at every time.



Pictures in order from left to right :
Nils-Udo, No title, forest of Marchiennes, France, 1994.
Nils-Udo, No title : Vassivière en Limousin, France, 1986.

Nils-Udo, Nid d’eau, Chiemgau, High Bavaria, Germany, 2001.


I hope this trip make you dream. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.





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