Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002), a leading female artist of the 20th century, gained worldwide fame with her ‘Nanas’, which exemplify the seemingly carefree cheerfulness typically associated with the artist. Yet there is much more to her than that.
Her output is surprisingly multifaceted – eccentric, emotional, dark and brutal, humorous, enigmatic and often challenging. Its remarkably broad spectrum ranges from painting and drawing to assemblages, actions and large-format sculptures, and even theatre, film and architecture.
She was intensely concerned with social and political issues, challenging institutions and establishing societal roles in ways that give her work enduring and contemporary relevance.
With her legendary ‘Shooting Paintings’, created in provocative actions as far back as the 1960s, Niki de Saint Phalle made a pivotal contribution to the art of performance that is so topical today. Against this backdrop, retracing her artistic career casts a different light on many of her works, especially the ‘Nanas’ and the large installations in the public space.
The selection of works for this exhibition offers an insight into the complex and highly interesting career of this exceptional artist.