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NIKI DE ST PHALLE:THE GLORY OF WOMEN FEMINISM AND ART


Niki de St Phalle (1930-2002)

 

is one of the most renowned artists

 

from the mid-twentieth century.

 

 

This Paris-born American painter, sculptor,

 

collagist, model, performance artist, author,

 

succeeded to extol

 

the beauty and power of women

 

using the wounds of her own life

 

as humus for her creative input.

 

Molested by her father as a child,

 

much of her early work from the Sixties

 

is indeed attempting to purge the anger, pain,

 

sadness and sense of betrayal

 

this caused her.

 

Her SHOOTING PAINTINGS

 

are violent happenings

 

during which St Phalle shot with a rifle

 

at her own paintings,

 

which were exploding with red or black paint.

 

They expressed her outrage

 

against all injustice.

 

 

In her own words:

“In 1961 I shot at Papa, at all men,

at important men, fat men, men, my brother,

society, the church, the convent, school,

my family, my mother…

I was shooting at myself,

society with its injustices.

I was shooting at my own violence

and the violence of the times."

 

NIKKI DE

ST PHALLE

SHOOTING AT HER OWN WORK

 

After the "Shooting paintings"

 

came a period when she explored

 

the various roles of woman.

 

She made life size dolls of women,

 

such as brides and mothers giving birth.

 

All of her famous NANAS

 

(French slang for "saucy girl" or "broad")

 

explored the ancient "earth mother" deities,

 

to reconsider and revalue woman's body.

 

The Nanas became a symbol

 

of female strength and self-confidence.

 

"At any rate, they were a statement

 

of the glory of women".

 

St Phalle then devoted herself

 

to fight society’s expectations

 

of women to be a wife and mother.

 

Her feminist works

 

were an ongoing commentary

 

on the limitations imposed on women

 

when forced to uptake the role

 

of wife and mother

 

by conditioning rather than by choice.

 

Her prolific career was always

 

deeply embedded

 

with socio-political issues.

 

Also during the 1960s,

 

she designed decors and costumes

 

for two theatrical productions,

 

one of which was  an adaptation of

 

Aristophanes' satirical play "Lysistrata,"

 

where women make love

 

to their warrior husbands

 

in order to stop them from fighting.

 

AH!

 

MAKE LOVE NOT WAR!

 

  Discover or get re-acquainted

 

with this truly "extra-ordinary" woman,

 

her life and art.

 

Wander through her HON

 

gigantic hollow woman,

 

her magic Tarot Garden in Italy,

 

her kinetic Stravinsky Fountain in Paris.

 

 

You will feel empowered!

 

Below:

1- Niki and her balloon Nanas

2- Niki shooting at herself? or at us?

3- Niki's NanasWashington DC 1999Washington DC 1999