Bertil Nilsson. Wildlife and tamed nature

by Laura Luppi

 

When man returns to nature with no intention of governing and exploiting it, his intervention becomes one with the chaos that’s so typical of human beings and that resembles a confused vortex of circumstances unleashed because no longer imprisoned within academic scientific principles. A mysterious order ruled by impenetrable laws, in which man himself is an integral part and not its ruler.

In order to return to the primordial chaos of nature, Bertil Nilsson plunges back into the past, into the dense forests of Sweden that had accompanied him throughout his childhood. However, the artist doesn’t just watch the surrounding landscape and freeze it by means of photographs. Instead, he introduces a seemingly contrasting element: the naked body of a dancer. This naked dancer is the crucial subject in the scene and he traces lines across the landscape, triggering strong emotional reactions in the beholder, who is attracted to the beauty of his movements and intrigued by the meaning concealed in his very presence. Yet the mystical atmosphere, even further catalysed by the coexistence of some symbolic elements such as the colour red (blood, passion, love), gives rise to the feeling that there is nothing more appropriate than a free-floating body in the wilderness. The power and intensity of this dance creates motion and life where everything seems still and perpetual, in harmonious balance between eternity and transience. What is left to chance finds its own place and the reason for its existence, just driven by the endless possibilities of their creative movements.

The dialectical relationship between chaos and order and how the two forces relate to the human element: That’s what encourages his artistic research and at the same time represents a significant point in the “Naturally” project. Here the dynamic and unpredictable strength of the dancer breaks the mould of the photographer’s scenic landscape composition, thus creating just one of the endless creative possibilities of the image. The author himself becomes an internal factor involved in a process of extemporaneous creation not being the supreme architect of all.

There are many other dance-inspired works by Nilsson, “Undisclosed” is one of them. In this work in particular, the artist succeeds in revealing us the athlete’s essence by capturing a group of young circus performers outside the circus environment where they no longer wear their usual costumes with which the spectator conceptually associate them. The final result is an unexpected leap beyond appearances, where the tension between effort and elegance turns into a harmonic vibration.

Photo credits:
Bertil Nilsson – www.bertil.co.uk

1 |  2013 – 32 x 24 inch digital C-type print on 36 x 28 inch Fuji Crystal Archive matt paper, Edition of 8+2 AP – subject Beren D’amic, London
2 |  2012 – 32 x 24 inch digital C-type print on 36 x 28 inch Fuji Crystal Archive matt paper, Edition of 8+2 AP – subject Dennis Mac Da, Berlin
3 |  2014 – Subject Giacomo Luci, Italy
4 |  2014 – Editions – 32 x 24 inch digital C-type print on 36 x 28 inch Fuji Crystal Archive matt paper, Edition of 5+1 AP – 48 x 36 inch digital C-type print on 56 x 44 inch Fuji Crystal Archive matt paper, Edition of 3+1 AP – subject Mario Espanol, Switzerland
5 |  2013 – 32 x 24 inch digital C-type print on 36 x 28 inch Fuji Crystal Archive matt paper, Edition of 8+2 AP – subject Miguel Esteves, Portugal
6 |  2013 – 32 x 24 inch digital C-type print on 36 x 28 inch Fuji Crystal Archive matt paper, Edition of 8+2 AP – subject Michael-John Harp, Dover

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