Tang Contemporary Art is pleased to present Niki de Saint Phalle Solo Exhibition, an exhibition in collaboration with Niki Charitable Art Foundation and Galerie Mitterand, celebrating the discovery of this legendary French-American female artist in Asia.
Born in France and raised in the USA, Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) was one of the most legendary women artists of the 20th century. She appeared on the art world scene in the early 60s as the only female member of the Nouveaux Realistes in Paris. She had no formal art education but learnt from her family and travels, she was also deeply influenced by numerous artists from the Middle Ages to Matisse and Pollock. Niki began creating art as therapy and voice to express her anger and hope in a primitive and experimental style using symbols like animals, monsters and female figures. Saint Phalle created a series of works in the early 1960s that were featured in her first exhibition Tirs (Shooting Paintings). In 1963, she created a series of sculptures protesting stereotypical societal roles for women as brides, birth-givers and prostitutes.
Over time, her Nanas became more joyful, whimsical and colourful: she decided to glorify and liberate women. Saint Phalle used to be a fashion model in her teens and was very skinny herself but wanted to celebrate the female curves as well as women of all shapes and forms. These sculptures broke free from the social constraints imposed on women and advocated for universal empowerment for all women.
Like a phoenix, Niki de Saint Phalle always rose from her ashes. She struggled with mental and physical health but found a way to heal through her art. As she declared in a drawing near the end of her life, “Death doesn’t exist/Life is eternal”. Niki lived through her art and became a symbol of women’s free will, love and hope.