Paris, 6th arrondissement. Chic shops and Christmas lights… In the silence of an alleyway, a nest has coiled up in the heart of the EDF Foundation. Seven black Spanish marble eggs, placed on fine Carrara marble gravel, and surrounded by a hundred or so cut bamboo trees – from the Anduze bamboo grove. To accommodate them, the reinvested former electrical substation has been plunged into darkness. Only a few spotlights illuminate the nest, which sleeps quietly, away from the world.
The installation is monumental, and takes over the entire space, from the ground floor to the first floor, with its spectacular bamboo rays. Nils-Udo, a German artist born in 1937, is the dashing hen-dad: tall and hairy, he reminds us of a wise tree… However, at 82 years of age, there is no question of taking root! The creation of this “work under the sky” – a rare occurrence in the long career of this great name in land art, who is more accustomed to forests than to gallery walls – has inspired him madly: “It’s the first piece in a series to come”, he explains to us, wishing to multiply the installations inside museums in the future.
His first nest dates back to 1978: created in a German forest, it was made up of dozens of cut birch trunks ready to be thrown away, found by chance by Nils-Udo. A photograph shows its majestic circumference, alongside three other images of the artist’s ephemeral works, which reveal his work on the vertiginous as well as the infinitely small – with, for example, his leaf installations. Thus deployed in this art foundation, the nest, a place where life grows in attention and warmth, is called upon: let us beware the world!