Niki de Saint Phalle, papier-mâché, 1966
French artist Niki de Saint Phalle grew up in the United States, under strict Catholic rules, and was a victim of sexual abuse by her father. Rebellious, she fought free and developed as an autodidact in the art world. In the early 1960s she caused a furore with her ‘Tirs’, she shot paint bags and spray cans and coloured the plaster reliefs behind it. From this masculine force of arms she evolves into the feminine forms in papier-mâché and polyester. She lived with the bohemian and sculpture Jean Tinguely, with whom she also collaborated a lot for her sculptures and installations.
The ‘Nana’ became her most iconic figure which also cemented her feminist stance. The well-known frivolous dancing Nanas are an expression of freedom and vitality, a strong symbol of emancipation.
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