Saturday, May 12, 2007

Niki de Saint-Phalle at Coskun Fine Art

Niki de Saint-Phalle at Coskun Fine Art

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Niki de Saint Phalle, Lady With Handbag.

LONDON.-Coskun Fine Art proudly presents the work of internationally renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) at its Walton Street gallery from 15th May until 30th June 2007. Featuring signature pieces from Sainte Phalle’s oeuvre, including sculptural pieces such as the Nanas, the exhibition’s strong colourful works capture Saint Phalle’s life-long theme of self-reflection and her wish for freedom.

One of the most famous artists of the 20th century, the influence of Saint Phalle--vivacious and inventive, original and open-minded-- continues today in contemporary art. From her early works of the 1950s, when she began drawing and painting, through her assemblages and shooting pictures, to the political and artistic statements of the early 1960s and works late in her career at the turn of the century, the central concepts of her art were the additive strategies of collage and assemblage (the collection and altering of found materials); her approach to landscapes, the introduction of narrative figures and stories; and overall an intense relationship between the private life and public work.

Born in 1930 into a French-American family, Saint Phalle was raised on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, but spent extended periods of her childhood in France and spent the rest of her life between Europe and the States. Long before feminism in art, she defined new roles and forms of presentation for the female artist, and with remarkable femininity. She was the beauty who challenged the beast of public taste. Deliberately ignoring accepted female role images such as passivity, withdrawal, shyness, and the willingness to play second fiddle, she directed a sharp criticism at the prejudiced images of male society.

Saint Phalle is perhaps best remembered for her Tarot Garden, a sculptural garden she devised in Tuscany. Inspired by Gaudi’s Parc Güell in Barcelona, Saint Phalle sought to make a similar monumental sculptural park, but created by a woman. Having acquired the land in 1979, the park opened in 1998 after more than 20 years of work. The garden contains sculptures of the symbols found on Tarot cards. The Saint Phalle works on display at Coskun Fine Art capture the same themes in Works such as Me and You Vase (inspired by Hierophant, Card V) and L’Oiseau amoureux (inspired by Temperance, Card XIII).

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