Style secrets of the French by Casilda Grigg
In search of the French capital’s hottest ticket, Whostolemycroissant despatched Hackney hipster and queen of Anglo-French style Daisy Evans to Paris via Megabus.
She lived to tell the tale and came back in raptures over the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition at Le Grand Palais. La belle Saint Phalle, who died in 2002, is the French sculptor, painter and one-time Vogue fashion model famous for her ‘nanas’, the buxom larger-than-life sculptures that established her name.
Here is Daisy’s review of the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition at Le Grand Palais:
Playful, provocative, sensational. The poster for this expansive and utterly fulfilling exhibition is not one of her glorious Nanas but of the artist pointing a shotgun out towards us. You can hardly see the foreshortened weapon, but yet we are in her sights.
Niki de Saint Phalle (born Neuilly-sur-Seine 1930, died San Diego 2002) was a self-taught natural artist who lived and breathed through her manic creative acts. Her exuberant art –most notably the Nanas, totem poles, fountains, and sculptures – has left its extraordinary mark worldwide in landmark sites from Amsterdam to Zurich. Her well-loved fountain at Beaubourg was created with her then husband the Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely.
The totality of the work is contradictory, yet coherent, she was no doubt avant-garde, and also populist and the words provocative and sensual are often applied. The voluptuous ‘nanas’ (a loose translation could be chicks, or perhaps more aptly, broads) were let loose upon the world in 1965.
In 1966, visitors to Moderna Museet Stockholm could enter a massive recumbent nana through the passage whereby most human beings have passed before. Her work repeatedly questioned a woman’s place and answered that question by placing the woman’s very self right in the middle of everything.
This vast and magnificent show gives us real life Nanas, totems, films, comic diaries, letters to friends in a the form of coloured seriographs, and many of the ‘shooting’ paintings whereby various targets were blasted with their own material, paint and plaster. If you want conceptual art, art consumed only by your intellect and reason, this is not for you. To experience her mixed-media glory, you experience it with your entire being, your joy, your desire, your sense of wonder and touch. Go and be surrounded by a celebration of the physical and phenomenal world.
Niki de Saint Phalle is at Le Grand Palais in Paris until February 2, 2015. The exhibition is open every day except Tuesday from 10am to 10pm, with the exception of an earlier closing time of 8pm on Sundays and Mondays.