Mathilde Hk in Paris at the Grand Palais – Niki de Saint Phalle

You like Modern Art,

You are curious about the role of woman in the art world,

you like giant artifacts and visual arts in general,


Leaping Nana, Planche de Nana Power ,1970, pictures@mathildehk

The Grand Palais in Paris launched a retrospective of the monumental creations of Niki de Saint Phalle, the French-American artist famous for her giant Nanas. The works on display pay a tribute to the ambitious talent of the artist who started with painting, oil on canvas in the spirit of Pollock or Jean Dubuffet, to end up with monumental creations, sculptures made of glass, ceramics and concrete materials such as the Tarot garden in Garavicchio, Italy. She lived from 1930 to 2002 and was part of the “Nouveaux Réalistes”.She was one of the first women to receive international acclaim and recognition during her lifetime, as well as successfully create a public persona.


Jardin des Tarots, Garavicchio, 1979, Italy, picture@www.huffingtonpost

What I liked about the exhibition:

The exhibition introduces the public to many interviews of the artist that are very efficient to understand her work. Niki de Saint Phalle was a beauty and the many films she had made are just so fascinating to watch. She is always defending her very feminist conception of the role of women in education, politics, art and society, early on in the 1950s! I really enjoyed it.

What I also appreciated was the provocative section of her work: the ‘Shooting paintings’, a set she first presented with the Nouveaux Realistes in Paris in 1960. For her “rifle-shot” paintings, Niki used a gun to shoot paint balls at a canvas primed to a pastose texture using a surfacing mixture. Upon impact the paint balls burst and colored the relief.


Saint Sébastien, Portrait of My Lover / Portrait of My Beloved / Martyr nécessaire, 100 x 74 x 15 cm, given to Hanover Museum in 2002

‘De Saint Phalle’s art has too often been taken at face value, stripped of its loaded politico-social commentary. Fortunately however, the Grand Palais looks beyond her bright and curvy ‘Nana’ sculptures to reveal the dark backbone of her work. The challenging themes of pregnancy, birth, failed love, incest, violence and revenge take centre stage’. By Tania Brimson/MH, TimeOut


La toilette, 1978, picture@AgnesPaulJoseph

Niki de Saint Phalle
17 September 2014 to 02 February 2015
 Galeries nationales du Grand Palais

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