A wide-ranging retrospective with some 150 exhibits sheds light on the exceptional artistic personality that was Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002). The remarkably broad spectrum of her work ranges from painting and drawing to assemblages, actions and large-format sculptures, and even theatre, film and architecture. They are the fruit of her efforts to process her own feelings, and of a critical attitude that prompted her to address social and political issues and question institutions and role models in ways that are as relevant today as they have ever been. While her legendary ‘shooting pictures’ arose out of provocative performances, her later works reveal a joyful embracing of life and humanity, exemplified by the sensual ‘Nanas’ and the transformative effect of her large installations in public spaces. Niki de Saint Phalle was a popular outsider whose formal language has imprinted itself upon us. Her oeuvre is multifaceted – surprising and eccentric, emotional, dark and brutal, humorous and cheerful, and often challenging. This promises to be a colourful and diverse visual treat for all generations of visitors.

The exhibition is a cooperation with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

Ill: Leonardo Bezzola, Niki de Saint Phalle, Lucerne, 1969, Kunsthaus Zürich, photo © estate of Leonardo Bezzola, work © Niki Charitable Art Foundation / 2021, ProLitteris, Zurich

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