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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."
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
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.
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!
1- Niki and her balloon Nanas
2- Niki shooting at herself? or at us?
3- Niki's NanasWashington DC 1999Washington DC 1999