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Nils Udo

Nils Udo's Nature Works


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We were having a bit of a rough day, but then we stumbled across the incredibly beautiful and moving work of Bavarian environmental artist Nils Udo.

Nils Udo has been gently altering landscapes since the 60’s, when he moved away from painting in a studio in Paris and his practice turned towards interacting with and within nature for his site-specific work. His primary materials are found materials from the earth; like berries, leaves, sticks, the movement of water and the growth of plants. Taking from nature and in turn re-arranging and replacing the creation back into the environment, the work continues its new life in natures hands. Udo then photographs the piece for documentation, then leaves it to develop and eventually disappear or decay at the mercy of nature.

He has said that his interests do not lie in making art, rather fusing life and art into each other. “As part of nature, I lived and worked day after day in its rhythms, by its conditions. Life and work became a unity. I was at peace with myself”. With the earth as his source and inspiration, the primary metaphor is the concept of the Nest; burrowing down into earth to find comfort and home. This is evident even in his most likely best known, commercial example of his work to the public, the cover design for Peter Gabriel’s album OVO. Udo’s favourite materials to work with are berries and blossoms, for their vibrant colour and playfulness. What a guy!

Don’t be mistaken, Nils Udo doesn’t just tramps into any old forest and start picking away at sticks and stones as he pleases. He uses his vast knowledge of phenology; the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events through seasons and climates. He is extremely familiar with the ebbs and flows of European environments through the seasons, which means he knows where to go and when to find particular fruit, growth and vines, or when particular flowers will be blossoming so he can reorganise nature.

Ok, we are so ready to go and sit on a patch of grass for a while, stare up to the sky, ponder our connectivity to the earth and find beauty in some cute lil blossoms. Who’s with us?

See more of Nils Udo and his incredibly inspiring work here.

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