Surprising and aromatic legacy of artist Niki de Saint Phalle
The MoMA PS1 retrospective of sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle, sponsored by La Prairie, sheds gentle on the lasting influence the revolutionary artist had on the wonder trade
Niki de Saint Phalle loved blowing issues up, whether or not it was the plaster sculptures she crammed with paint and then shot with a .22 rifle to create her Tirs sequence within the Nineteen Sixties, or the life-size bull she as soon as exploded with dynamite in honour of Salvador Dalí.
She actually detonated gender norms as the one feminine member of the Nouveau Réalisme motion – a French inventive group that included Yves Klein and Christo, amongst others – and obliterated inventive conventions by her audacious and typically monumental artworks, which supplied a radically feminist imaginative and prescient of the world.
Niki de Saint Phalle, Tir neuf trous—Edition MAT, 1964. © 2021 Niki Charitable Art Foundation. Photography by NCAF Archives
As Saint Phalle herself put it: ‘I’m not the one that can change society besides by providing some form of imaginative and prescient of those pleased, joyous, domineering girls.’
Many will recognise ‘these girls’ from Saint Phalle’s signature Nanas sequence, sculptures of extravagantly voluptuous, joyfully dancing girls that recall the traditional Venus of Willendorf, however reimagined for our fashionable world with a psychedelic color scheme and colossal proportions. Most notable of all, nevertheless, is Saint Phalle’s exceptional Tarot Garden, an expansive sculpture park in Tuscany populated by awe-inspiring, mammoth feminine figures.
Niki de Saint Phalle, Tarot Garden, 1991, lithograph. © 2021 Niki Charitable Art Foundation. Photography by Ed Kessler
Niki de Saint Phalle x La Prairie at MoMA PS1
The Niki de Saint Phalle retrospective at the moment on view at MoMA PS1 is a celebration of this explosive life, and work produced from the Nineteen Sixties till the artist’s demise in 2002.
It is supported by the Swiss skincare model La Prairie, which has a historical past of patronising the humanities. For years, the model has commissioned artworks for Frieze and Art Basel, funded the Mondrian Conservation Project at Switzerland’s Fondation Beyeler, and additionally supported the mentorship of ECAL college students by Wallpaper* Designer of the Year 2020, Sabine Marcelis.
Installation view of ‘Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life’ on view at MoMA PS1. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photography by Kyle Knodell
La Prairie’s determination to assist the Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition is especially notable, each as a result of it reveals a bit of identified side of the skincare model’s historical past, and additionally opens up the dialogue on a lesser examined department of Saint Phalle’s work.
Niki de Saint Phalle’s affect on the wonder trade
Large-scale artwork wants funding, as La Prairie’s personal patronages through the years attest, and on the apex of her profession, Saint Phalle realised she would wish another supply of earnings to assist her monumental, architectural initiatives. One of her options was the creation of her eponymous fragrance, Niki de Saint Phalle, a peculiar chypre floral fragrance that blended notes of carnation and patchouli, with artemisia, mint, leather-based and sandalwood.
The blue packaging of La Prairie Skin Caviar, impressed by the shade Niki de Saint Phalle utilized in her fragrance bottle design
In Nineteen Eighties New York, Saint Phalle was engaged on the fragrance in the identical design studio as La Prairie’s growth group. It was in there that La Prairie first encountered the putting cobalt blue that Saint Phalle used for the packaging of her fragrance, and which the model ultimately adopted as a signature shade of its personal, most notably utilizing it for the packaging of its Skin Caviar assortment.
Speaking concerning the hue, Saint Phalle stated, ‘I selected blue for the color of the fragrance bottle as a result of I like blue. First of all, it’s my favorite color. It’s the color of the sky. It’s the color of pleasure; it’s a religious color. And I really feel just like the Greeks do, that it brings good luck.’
Installation view of perfumes at ‘Niki de Saint Phalle: Structures for Life’, on view at MoMA PS1. Image courtesy MoMA PS1. Photography by Kyle Knodell.
Although the fragrance did convey Saint Phalle among the success she wanted to proceed engaged on the Tarot Garden, she obtained criticism on the time for creating work with overtly business goals.
Yet it’s honest to say that Niki de Saint Phalle fragrance is simply an instance of the artist’s pioneering imaginative and prescient. In current years, a lot of high-profile visible artists have experimented with perfumery, with feminine artists, specifically, utilizing scent in its place approach to look at girls’s place inside society.
Niki de Saint Phalle with assistant Ricardo Menon, surrounded by fashions of monumental initiatives, Malibu, California, 1979. Photography by Ronnie Kaufman.
When creating her fragrance, Saint Phalle was open about the truth that she was making an attempt to earn money, however she additionally hit on an vital, and more and more extra evident level – that perfumery has a novel means to translate throughout disciplines and, in the end, make artwork extra accessible. A subject that many artists could proceed to discover in her stead. §