Sometimes pictures speak louder than words. For this reason, this post was originally just going to be a gallery of my photos, but I thought I might as well contextualise things a bit first…


Niki de Saint Phalle at the Grand Palais was possibly my favourite exhibition ever.

Model, sculptor, feminist, trend setter: this exhibition catalogues the many different phases of Niki’s life and explores the paradoxical nature of her work. In the spacious rooms of the Grand Palais, we encounter the artist’s confusion, despair, anger, love, frustration, empowerment; her works are both joyful and colourful, yet also more intellectual and profound.

One of the major figures of the Nouveau Réalisme movement in the 1960s, Niki’s goal was to bring art and life closer together. Niki created a new kind of art through her combination of techniques and styles, and her use of various media: sculpture, décolletage, prints, paintings, and even large public installations are displayed alongside each other.

Having rejected the conservative values of her middle class family, the young Franco-American model suffered a nervous breakdown when she found herself living a similarly bourgeois lifesyle. Teaching herself how to paint, art became a form of therapy for Niki; she began to use her paintings as a way of coming to come to terms with her many, conflicting feelings.

Niki’s first works were the ‘Shooting Paintings’ of the 1960s, which she used to try and understand her relationship with her father, and she is most recognised for the ‘Nana’ sculptures, through which she explores the role of women in Western society.

Niki’s work touches on many socio-political issues, and I particularly admired her musings on race, gender issues and violence, although my favourite works were the ‘letters’, which have titles such as ‘Why don’t you love me any more’ and ‘Will you still remember me?’  These little collections of drawings and sketches offer an amazing insight into the way her brain works; the questions she poses are eternally relevant, and her manner is very honest and endearing.

Ideally, you would go to the Grand Palais to see the exhibition for yourself, but here are a few snaps to give you a taste of how special it is. I got quite carried away with the camera, and may have run out of memory on my iphone halfway around…



IMG_8673  IMG_8675

IMG_8679  IMG_8682

IMG_8684   IMG_8693

IMG_8700  IMG_8698

    IMG_8707   IMG_8705  IMG_8710


IMG_8714  IMG_8724


IMG_8726   IMG_8734  IMG_8732

IMG_8730  IMG_8728  IMG_8738

  IMG_8742   IMG_8740  IMG_8744



IMG_8777    IMG_8780   IMG_8771

IMG_8783  IMG_8784  IMG_8790

IMG_8798  IMG_8818 IMG_8816

IMG_8815 IMG_8810 IMG_8809

IMG_8804 IMG_8802

IMG_8842  IMG_8854 IMG_8853

IMG_8865  IMG_8835  IMG_8822

Niki believed that art is a means to an end; her works speak for themselves. Sometimes pictures really do speak louder than words.


Niki de Saint Phalle


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s