Niki de Saint Phalle’s Wonderland

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A major retrospective exhibition of Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the most legendary female artists in the 20th century, is being held at Today Art Museum in Beijing. Inspired by her work “Tarot Garden” created in Italy, a reproduced garden wonderland is now displayed in the art gallery.

Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002) was a French-American sculptor, painter, and filmmaker. She was one of the few women artists widely known not only for her monumental sculptures, but also for her commitment to public art. Dubbed the “contemporary Andy Warhol,” Saint Phalle was also an artist famous for her unique creativity in the era of media communication. In the early 1960s, she appeared in the art circles as an outsider and created the famous “shooting painting,” making her a pivotal figure of “New Réalisme” in Europe. This led to “conceptualization” in painting and sculpture. After 1965, she shaped the female images of “Bride,” “Nana” and “Devouring Mother,” which contributed to criticism of society from the perspective of feminism. 

From the 1970s, she began to participate in public art. The representative “Tarot Garden” celebrated the art of human wisdom and nature. Multiple legends, religions and disciplines were echoed in this garden. For this exhibition, the curatorial team visited Tuscany in Italy and San Diego in the U.S. for research, which visitors can now view in the form of documentaries. Through Saint Phalle’s voice and historical images of her time, audiences can track her four-decade-long career in art history as well as her inner life – her anger and repression, the struggles she faced and the happiness she found, the criticisms and her fighting back. Saint Phalle created a world of imagination in her lifetime. In this world, she encourages people to look into themselves, to overcome the barriers of emotion, and to use art to shape a broader world.

This exhibition presents important works of Saint Phalle since the 1960s, and her comprehensive practice in painting, sculpture, performing art, conceptual art, feminist art, large-scale public art and cinema.

The exhibition will run through March 10, 2019.

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