In this extensive exhibition, ARKEN presents a unique artist whose radical practice, extraordinary power and impassioned battle for women’s rights speak directly to our time. Adamant views on gender roles and equality meld with eternal issues like love, lust for life and personal emancipation. Saint Phalle had a lust for life like few others and her universe is at once violent and vibrant, dark and humorous.
Born near Paris to an American mother and an aristocratic French father, Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) grew up in the United States and worked as a fashion model in her teens for Vogue, Elle and LIFE Magazine. At age 18, Saint Phalle married the writer Harry Mathews, with whom she had two children. But behind the genteel facade, rebellion was brewing. After suffering several mental breakdowns, she realized that she couldn’t live her life stuck in the role of housewife and she dedicated herself to her artistic calling. Rebelling against the authorities and middle-class living, art became her therapy. Through her art, she processed dreams and demons.