From September 17, 2014 to February 2, 2015 – Grand Palais
Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002) is one of the most renowned artists from the mid-twentieth century. Throughout her prolific career, Saint Phalle created a complex body of work in various media which was deeply embedded with socio-political issues. With themes ranging from joyful to profound to intellectual, the paradoxal nature of her work has yet to be fully explored. She was one of the first women to receive international acclaim and recognition during her lifetime, as well as successfully create a public persona. Similar to Warhol, Saint Phalle was able to use the media to skillfully guide the reception of her work
Without any formal art training, Niki de Saint Phalle took her inspiration from Gaudi, Dubuffet and Pollock to invent, in the late 1950s, a singular world independent of any trend or art movement. Her entire career is sublimated by great themes and myths, which later articulated her entire oeuvre. The joyous, colourful side of her work is well known but its violence, commitment and radical stands have been forgotten. And this is equally true of her audacious performances, the political and feminist content of her work and her ambitious public sculptures.
This retrospective, the first major exhibition devoted to Niki de Saint Phalle in twenty years, presents a multifaceted artist, at once a painter, assembly artist, sculptor, printmaker, performer and experimental filmmaker, and takes a profoundly new look at her work. Over 200 works and archives, many unpublished, are set out in 2,000 square metres, organised by chronology and theme, and punctuated by screens showing the artist talking about her work. Models of architectural projects and a sculpture-fountain (Snake’s Tree) outside the Grand Palais will give visitors an idea of the scope and diversity of her public work