This retrospective of the art of Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the world's most outstanding artists of the second half of the 20th century, will consist of items from the collection of the Musée d'Art moderne et d'Art contemporain in Nice, to which the artist donated a vast group of her works towards the end of her life.
Niki de Saint Phalle
BLACK IS DIFFERENT, 1994, serigraphy 80x120 cm, copyright Niki de Saint Phalle, ADAGP, Paris, 2003This retrospective of the art of Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the world's most outstanding artists of the second half of the 20th century, will consist of items from the collection of the Musée d'Art moderne et d'Art contemporain in Nice, to which the artist donated a vast group of her works towards the end of her life.
The exhibit will include almost 80 works dating from 1958-2000, including twenty-three paintings and sculptures, fifty-six lithographs and serigraphs - in a word, examples of work from many different periods in Niki de Saint Phalle's artistic career. Among the pieces on view will be assemblages created by the artist at the turn of the 1950s and 60s, works from "Shot Paintings" series (1961-1963), the "Nanas" that made the artist famous, a series of works in which Saint Phalle explores existential themes through autobiographical motifs, a group of representations of fantastical beasts and figures inspired by Indian legends from both the Americas, and works in which she portrays famous Black individuals from the world of jazz and music in general.
Niki de Saint Phalle was born in France in 1930 and passed away in the United States on May 21, 2002. Raised in France and the United States, she tried her hand at writing and acting and only began painting later in life. A very important moment in her life came when she met Jean Tinguely and the critics and artists of the group known as the Nouveaux Réalistes, which included Pierre Restany, Arman, César, Christo, Klein and Spoerri. Her "Shot Paintings" won her recognition among the group and Saint Phalle was subsequently the only woman to become a full member. At the beginning of the 1960s, the artist began creating portraits of women in the roles assigned to them by society. In 1965, she created her first "Nanas" - voluptuous symbols of womanhood that were dazzlingly colored. Niki de Saint Phalle constructed her first sculptures from yarn, wire and papier-mâché, adopting polyester as a material later. In 1966, she worked with Tinguely and Ultvedt to create the famous SHE (HON) - a 28-meter-long object installed in the lobby of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. The next year, her play titled ALL ABOUT ME was produced in Kassel; at the turn of the 1960s and 70s, she created her first architectural designs and premiered a film titled DADDY. In the early 1970s, the artist was afflicted with a lung disease as a result of having worked with polyester. She began to spend a significant amount of time in various resorts, mostly in Switzerland. It was at this time that she developed and refined her idea for a sculptural garden, an idea finally realized at Garavicchio in Tuscany. Over the next years, Niki de Saint Phalle would create twenty-two monumental figures there, all inspired by trump Tarot cards. The sculptures have a metal structure that is covered in cement and decorated with a mosaic of pieces of glass, mirrors and pottery. TAROT GARDEN took ten years to complete. In 1983, Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely created their most famous joint work - the STRAVINSKY FOUNTAIN located near the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. In the second half of the 1990s, following the death of Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle resettled in Southern California. During the 1990s she created a series of moving reliefs dedicated to Tinguely and titled "Méta-Tinguely." The most important group of works in Niki de Saint Phalle's last creative period is a series of thirty-nine multi-colored sculptures titled NOAH'S ARC, which she produced for the city of Jerusalem.
This exhibition was previously presented at the Ernst Museum in Budapest. After showing at the Zacheta National Contemporary Art Gallery, it will travel to the National Museum in Krakow
. Exhibition opening: May 9, 2003, 7 p.m.The "Zacheta" Gallery of Art
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