Bavarian artist creates natural sculpture

By Christine Drais

Natural Sculpture of a nestUsing bamboo stalks and nearly 80 tons of pine logs harvested from Oconee County pine plantations, Bavarian artist Nils Udo created the latest nature-based sculpture in the S.C. Botanical Garden at Clemson.
“Nils Udo was one of the first contemporary nature-based artists to emerge during the early 1970s,” said Ernie Denny, program facilitator for the Garden. “He has accumulated an impressive body of work in Europe, Japan, India and North America. We were elated that he was chosen to contribute to the Garden’s nature-based sculpture program.”
Throughout the month of February, Udo was on the Clemson campus, touring the Botanical Garden, selecting a site, developing his design and then creating the sculpture with the help of students and other volunteers from the University and the community.
“In my art, I seek to achieve absolute purity. Every non-natural element is ruled out as impure. No materials are used other than those found in each natural space,” Udo said of his work. His yet to be named creation for the Garden is at the edge of the wildflower meadow leading to the visitor center. It resembles a gigantic bird nest about 35 feet in diameter.

A video of this process was produced for SC-ETV. Videos of previous sculpture projects are available at the Garden Gift Shop, including artists Chris Drury (2002) and Yolanda Guiterrez (2003). The Garden’s sculpture program is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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