Nils-Udo is a Bavarian artist who came to Topanga--in the Santa Monica Mountains above Los Angeles--to create an art and nature installation.
(The photos here will take a few seconds to load, but they are worth the wait!)

He flew over from Europe for only a week, but spent three days hiking the hillsides, exploring ancient oak forests, following winter streams, discovering water falls and hidden pools.

He chose beautiful Red Rock Canyon as the site for his work, near ceremonial caves used a thousand years ago by Gabrialeno and Chumash people.

Wild bamboo was cut from a stream bed, carefully polished, then brought to the cave site.

He loosened and raked the soil, creating an indentation that revealed the distinctive mineral colors of the earth, then began weaving the installation into the cave.

On the last day, when the wild bamboo nest was complete, the artist looked at the lunchtime orange in his hand and began to smile: "I need more!" he laughed, "Sixty!"  
Tours were about to arrive to see his installation, and it was only two hours before he was to appear at the gala opening for the ART AND NATURE show at the new Rico Gallery in Santa Monica. There was little time.
We rushed over to Topanga's Saturday Farmer's Market, where Nils plundered the citrus boxes--laying oranges, limes and lemons carefully on the ground to consider the colors. As it happened, two of Topanga's favorite artists, Barbara King and Stu Moskowitz, arrived to buy fresh vegetables just then. They joked as Nils gathered bags of bright fruit with all the joy Van Gogh or Matisse might have felt with a box full of new oil paints.  


Back at the quiet canyon, Nils placed the fruit and took his pictures,then we dashed back down the canyon for him to change and arrive in trendy Santa Monica just in time for the opening... which was a smashing success.


The installation was a gift to children and hikers who discover it by surprise.

Topangans made a visit to this lovely site a part of their daily routine. Barbara Rice says she makes "a daily pilgrimage" and is inviting friends from as far away as Long Beach to come see it with her.


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all rights reserved


The site was removed after two weeks.

From the Makers of

Photos on this page were taken by Patric Hedlund of Dendrite Forest during construction of the project. Nils-Udo's gallery photos are available through the Rico Gallery. Manfred Menz made the installation possible and provided hospitality.

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy graciously gave permission for the installation in Red Rock Canyon. Special thanks to Lisa Soghor.


The ART AND NATURE Show was curated by Tricia Watts, of EcoArtSpace. Gabriel and Tricia Watts and Patric Hedlund assisted in scouting locations. Dan Isaacson, David MacDonald, Jim Sullivan and Gary Meyer assisted in construction.  





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