Niki d Saint Phalle (Neuilly-sur-Seine,1930 – San Diego, 2002)
Last night I had a dream.
Worldwide attention was drawn to the work of Niki de Saint Phalle in 1966, when she collaborated with fellow artist Jean Tinguely and Per Olof Ultvedt on a large-scale installation at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. This installation, titled hon-en katedral (hon is Swedish for she) was as big as a building but shaped as a reclining bright colored women figure. This provocative image of a woman figure with the door opening between her widespread legs, had a shock effect on both visitors and art critics worldwide and was therefore mentioned in every newspaper and magazine. Niki herself referred to these big, voluptuous and imperfect women figures as Nanas. La hon was the first Nana to draw worldwide attention after Niki’s first Nana exhibition at Galerie Alexandre Iolas in Paris in 1965. Niki herself said;” La hon, c’etait une sculpture gigantesque. La plus Grande Femme du Monde!”
Niki’s artistic career began in 1961 when she took part in the Nouveau Réalisme group. She was the only woman in this group of artists that included Arman, Christo, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, and Jacques de la Villeglé, among others.
Niki also became friends with American artists Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Larry Rivers and
Marcel Duchamp who were staying in Paris in the early sixties.
With the realization of hon-en katedral Niki was driven to create large monumental size sculptures. After a commission from the French government to create an outdoor sculpture garden in collaboration with Jean Tinguely for the expo 1967 held in Montreal, she continued to create monumental size works. Last Night I had a Dream is a monumental wall relief that consists out of a total of 18 sculptures, all figures and symbols who took part in Niki’s dream. Each figurine is an artwork on its own, and has been exhibited as such. Last Night I Had a Dream was first shown to the public in Paris 1968. In 1975 this sculptural tableau was partly installed on the exterior of the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, for an arts festival. In 1994 the work was moved to Japan to The Niki de Saint Phalle Museum in Nasu. Gallery Delaive acquired a large number of works from the Niki Museum in Nasu.
1968 “ Flash Niki de Saint Phalle”, Galerie Alexandre Iolas, Paris, Fr
“Werke 1962-1968”, Kunstverein Düsseldorf, DE (nº 27)
1969 “Werke 1962-1968”, Kunstverein, Künstlerhaus, Hannover, DE (nº 27)
“Niki de Saint Phalle”, Kunstmuseum, Luzern, CH
1993 “Niki de Saint Phalle: Her life and art”, McLellan Galleries, Glasgow, GB
“Niki de Saint Phalle: l’ invitation au musée”, Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris, FR
“Niki de Saint Phalle”, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Fribourg, CH
1994 “Niki de Saint Phalle”, Niki Museum, Nasu, JP
1968 Pluchart, François, “Combat”, 11 novembre, Paris, FR
1969 “Der Spiegel”, 27 Janvier, Hamburg, DE, p.104
1992 Cat. “Niki de Saint Phalle”, Kunstund Ausstellungshalle, Bonn, DE, p.87
1998 “Niki de Saint Phalle”, Niki Museum, Nasu, JP, pp.30-31