Niki de Saint Phalle

di Camilla Rota e Francesca Sinagra


Niki de Saint Phalle (Neuilly-sur-Seine 1930 – San Diego 2002), nasce come Catherine Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle in Francia ma subito si trasferisce a New York, dove inizia una carriera da modella apparendo sulle copertine di Vogue e Life e diventa attrice. Agli inizi degli anni ‘50 (sposata e con una bambina) soffre di un esaurimento nervoso, e ne esce grazie alla pittura; decide quindi di diventare artista.  Grazie ad un viaggio in Europa scopre Gaudì e rimane affascinata dall’idea del parco-opera ed è a Parigi che Niki incontra e prende parte al gruppo del Nouveau Réalisme, unica donna in un gruppo che include anche Jean Tinguely, suo compagno di vita dopo la rottura con il primo marito. Negli anni ’60 conosce Dalì al quale si ispirerà per tutta una vita.La sua arte si esprime attraverso rilievi figurativi che rappresentano momenti conflittuali della donna, come il parto e il matrimonio, ma anche a esseri innaturali come draghi e mostri. È nel 1965 che Niki realizza le sue prime Nanas (“dame” o “pulcino”), figure femminili archetipiche che diventeranno il suo emblema.  Uno dei suoi lavori più grandi è senza dubbio il “Giardino dei Tarocchi” tra Garavicchio e Capalbio (Grosseto). Il connubio tra arte e architettura ha richiesto ben diciassette anni per la realizzazione: il progetto, denso di significati simbolici ed esoterici, infatti, si è concluso nel 1996. Protagonista di questo progetto immenso sono ventidue monumentali sculture di cemento e poliestere, ispirate agli Arcani Maggiori dei Tarocchi e decorate con specchi, vetri e ceramiche colorate. Sarà la passione stessa per l’arte a portarla alla morte, quando, nel 2002, i suoi polmoni cedono a causa delle sostanze cancerogene presenti nei materiali che per lei erano espressione di vita.


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