“Whatever the chosen site for his installations, in our part of the world or in far-flung lands, whatever the scale of the work – infinitely large or infinitely small – which he constructs with infinite patience, Nils-Udo, who started out as a painter as is now one once again, has always “worked with and on nature”.
As a carver of glimpses of eternity, this sensitive, precise and meticulous artist of scenes steeped in absolute grace and power has never tired of this dialogue with nature, which he first struck up back in the 1970s following his graphic art studies in Nuremberg and the long stint he spent in Paris, which he has since built on by touring all seven continents.
Whether experimenting with immense pine trunks or bamboo, interwoven to form one of these giant nests, the shape of which fascinates him so obsessively that he erects them everywhere, or one by one arranging tiny berries, slender flowers, fine branches or delicate roots gathered during his walks, he transforms the simplest of materials into a truly poetic vision, which he hurries to capture through photography before it vanishes.
Nils-Udo’s enduring passion for nests, a fundamental form he is endlessly recreating, a symbol of his obsession over a paradise lost, a wild matrix, a shelter, is well-known. The nest represents the shelter, the start and end point of procreation.
Nils-Udo’s œuvre also displays series of arches, porches and doorways, such as in his “water houses” or those opening out onto the horizon.
These doorways are openings onto a space beyond the initial perception, towards something invisible, a depth glimpsed through beauty, the sublime and “utopia” which Nils-Udo sees “under every stone”, “on each leaf”, “behind each tree”, “in the clouds and the wind””. Chantal Colleu-Dumond, Nils-Udo, éditions Gourcuff Gradenigo