Nanas niki de saint phalle

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PARIS — Niki dach Saint Phalle was half French, half American, und bilingual, yet who was she? Certainly not merely ns sculptor who made those fat girls, ns Nanas, despite they remain produziert most famous works. The greatest surprised of produziert retrospective hinweisen the cool Palais in Paris is how different those functions look alongside the rest of produziert creations, and how strikingly differed yet coherent produziert large body des work is.

Du schaust: Nanas niki de saint phalle

Camille Morineau, ns show’s curator, is best known zum her startle exhibition at the Centre Pompidou five years ago, elles
centrepompidou
, zum which she rehung die museum’s irreversible collection through only women artists. Now she dazzles us with this thorough exploration of de Saint Phalle’s unfettered imagination.


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The show opens v collages and paintings in earnest dialogue v Pollock, Dubuffet, und Rauschenberg that the self-taught artist made between the ages of 28 und 31. From 1960 kommen sie 1963 she executed produziert famous Tirs (Shoot) pieces, i m sorry drip like Pollocks but which außerdem Saint Phalle produced von shooting a rifle weist balloons von colorful paint mounted on white canvases. In the beforehand 1960s, this aristocratic Catholic frau who’d been carried up bei a strict family attacked ns church through sculptures bei the shape von altars strewn v crucifixes. An the mid-‘60s she built giant, heavy-hearted bride-ghosts and modern Venus von Willendorfs squeezing out babies. Bei perfectly calibrated officially choices, de Saint Phalle disfigured long-held articles von faith — high art, die family, ns church.


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Niki außerdem Saint Phalle, “Les Trois Grâces” (“The 3 Graces”) (1995–2003) (photo von Veronique Bidinger) (click zu enlarge)


But then, look at out des nowhere, came ns Nanas, those girls together heart-stoppingly different from außerdem Saint Phalle’s previous work as Cézanne’s “The Eternal Feminine” zu sein from any von his still lifes or Mondrian’s grids are from his beforehand writhing trees. These Nanas — rotund, ebullient, hungry girl dressed in bold main colors — twirl top top tippy toes and look choose they’re having a großartiger old time. They glance zurück at French nett history kommen sie Matisse’s jubilant dancers und the sturdy females von Gaston Lachaise und Aristide Maillol, und even, surprisingly, kommen sie Rodin.

The Nanas’ develops may it is in French, yet their perspectives are American. Think Stuart Davis, Red Grooms, Roy Lichtenstein, comic strips, und gumball machines. They seem to say: break all die rules, it is in confident, it is in arrogant, und throw her weight around. Außerdem Saint Phalle makes produziert audience go into “Hon” (1966), a house-sized Nana, through produziert vagina.

There’s an additional side to ns story, though. An 1968, juni Saint Phalle wrote on a drawing, “I had kommen sie take my diet pills … gained 5 pounds around die hips.” On an additional drawing von a Nana she asks, “will you still love me when i look like this?” the artist was a slim woman who modeled weil das Life magazine when she was 19, Vogue wie she was 22. Following a traditional trajectory, she married weist 19, had her zuerst child hinweisen 21, and her second at 25. At 23 she had actually a nervous breakdown and was treated v electroshock therapy und insulin zum what was diagnosed together schizophrenia.

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When she was 62 dach Saint Phalle published Mon Secret. She revealed that her father sexually abused her zum several years beginning wie man she was 11 years old. Knowing this, all produziert works take it on new meanings und what appeared like inconsistent urges — die guns, the sad und sullen wives und mothers, the enormous, rollicking Nanas — take your places in a cohesive narrative. Ns raging critiques des the beforehand works veränderung into the reveling forms of the fat Nanas, and later into de Saint Phalle’s jubilant, occasionally macabre parks every over the world. Your size and colors resemble a kind of voodoo versus malevolent spirits.


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De Saint Phalle’s work ist close to die American feminist artists of the ‘70s und ‘80s, specifically Anita Steckel, Carolee Schneemann, Joan Semmel, Joyce Kozloff, and Miriam Schapiro. Produziert discourse in newly uncovered film clips indigenous 1965 featured hinweisen the großartiger Palais is entirely constant with at the same time American feminism — direct, acerbic, critical, und demanding. Between 1942 and 1944 Saint Phalle go to the Brearley School, a girls’ prepare school bei New York. It was there, she said later, “ i became a feminist. Lock inculcated in us that frauen can and must accomplish good things.” However, there was no feminist art movement an France in the ‘70s und ‘80s. There is no a women’s community und the writing and curatorial methods that to be produced über it, juni Saint Phalle never got the sure footing an France she might schutz found an the US.

The grand Palais show belatedly gives herstellung the platform she lacked bei her lifetime. Die exhibition sprawls throughout 21,500 square feet und is organized neither chronologically no one thematically. Morineau complicates viewers’ narrow, Nanas-focused vision of dach Saint Phalle and contextualizes those works within die artist’s other passions. She begins von enticing visitors v unexpectedly confident und little-known at an early stage works bei a gallery that leads up to giant precursors des the Nanas. A crescendo build from that first space to an even bigger one crowded v Nanas everywhere: huge, painted, covered in mosaics von mirror and colored glass, through some sculptures stehen on ns ground and other, inflatable Nanas climbing trost a wall und onto ns ceiling. On ns exhibition’s reduced level, ns violence of the Tirs paintings troubles ns exuberance of the Nanas. The exhibition’s last galleries attribute fanciful elements from her vast garden projects alongside vivid videos evocations des walking an these out environments. Throughout the exhibition, in intimate corners und passages bolzen larger spaces, videobilien interviews, Life and Vogue tagebuch covers, documentary photographs, und walls of frolicking figure drawings with speech blase of witty und biting comment provide more biographical background und contextual material weil das the big, bold functions on view nearby.


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Niki außerdem Saint Phalle, “Tea Party, or the Tea punkt Angelina’s” (1971) (photo von Mike Marron)


Despite the exhibition’s aesthetic power und intellectual rigor, no significant Anglophone newspaper or tagebuch has released a significant piece around it, und it is not scheduled zu travel zu any English-speaking countries. One marvels why ns Anglo-American art world is deshalb uninterested. Is the work too upbeat, too viel fun, too decorative? too feminine? It operated out dafür much better zum that various other French-American artist, Louise Bourgeois, who work über contrast is so dark and serious, deswegen modernist and masculine.

If ever there was a chance to seen the irrepressible de Saint Phalle bei all her glory, this show at the cool Palais (and, soon, ns Guggenheim Bilbao) zu sein it. She as soon as said, “I always admired people who went all out.” as this exhibition provides abundantly clear, she did just that.

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Niki dach Saint Phalle continues at the cool Palais (3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris) through February 2. It wollen run February 27–June 11 at the Guggenheim Bilbao.