With the exhibition 'In the Garden of Imagination' the Essl Museum offers a retrospective look at the work of the artist who died in 2002. Niki de Saint Phalle is particularly well known for her colourful Nana figurines. Incontestably, no viewer will remain unaffected by the infectious cheerfulness and sensuality of her works. The current exhibition will provide a welcome opportunity to explore all creative phases in the work of this fascinating artist and to become even better acquainted with her comprehensive oeuvre. Curated by Andreas Hoffer, Anna Szoke and Maria Theresia Moritz.
Curated by Andreas Hoffer, Anna Szöke and Maria Theresia Moritz
With the exhibition NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE – In the Garden of Imagination<, the Essl Museum offers a retrospective look at the work of the artist who died in 2002. Early assemblages, Tirs (Shooting Paintings), objects and sculptures from the famous Tarot Garden in Tuscany, work created together with Jean Tinguely, as well as the famous Nanas will be on show.
The exhibition starts with creative work with a feminist twist, the spectacular Shooting Paintings. These usually consisted of canvases portraying male or monstrous creatures which the artist shot at with real fire arms in the presence of a live audience. “I was ready to kill. As victims I chose my own paintings”, the artist once commented on her Shooting Pictures, and she went on to say: “The paintings were shedding blood. The white surface was covered with splashes of colour. The paintings came alive.” With its fantastic range of shapes and colours, Niki des Saint Phalle’s work evolved into a unique universe of humour and sensuality. In her later years, the artist also became enthralled with garden design.
The idea of showing her work at the Essl Museum germinated after an encounter between the art collectors and the artist in California in 2001. “We experienced Niki de Saint Phalle as a bubbly, exuberant artist with sparkling eyes and a keen intellect. Her warm welcome quickly created a trusting and friendly atmosphere which made it possible for us to form a very personal and profound impression of her art and her working methods.” recalls Prof. Karlheinz Essl. In the public at large, Niki de Saint Phalle is particularly well known for her colourful Nana figurines. Incontestably, no viewer will remain unaffected by the infectious cheerfulness and sensuality of her works. The current exhibition will provide a welcome opportunity to explore all creative phases in the work of this fascinating artist and to become even better acquainted with her comprehensive oeuvre.
The exhibition has been made possible by the excellent co-operation with the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, which has been entrusted with a large portion of the artist’s estate.
An exhibition catalogue of approximately 80 pages will be published with a preface by Prof. Karlheinz Essl and texts by Andreas Hoffer and Maria Theresa Moritz.
The art education team offers guided tours and workshops during the exhibition, e.g. the guided tour NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE< every Sunday at 1 p.m. Please access the current calendar of events at http://www.essl.museum/Kunstvermittlung.
Summer Open House >IN THE GARDEN OF IMAGINATION < Sat, 12 June and Sun, 13 June 2010 A weekend filled with highlights for visitors of all ages: guided tours, workshops, culinary delights – and the entrance is free.
Image: La tempérance, 1978, Photo: Michael Herling / Aline Gwose © VBK Wien, 2009
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Press prewiev: 20.05.2010, h 10.30 a.m.
Opening 20 May, h 7.30 p.m.
Essl Museum - Contemporary Art
An der Donau-Au 1, A-3400 Vienna / Klosterneuburg
Opening Hours: Tue - Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Wed 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Free Admission 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.