The Devil and Niki de Saint Phalle

Niki de Saint Phalle is one of the artists whose work I tried to photograph at the Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow recently. I got my photos, but there was a smudge on the lens, so I couldn’t use them.

De Saint Phalle’s dream project was a Tarot Garden, peopled by artworks inspired by the complete Tarot deck of cards. She realised this dream, after many years, on a plot of land in Italy. Here is one of the more spectacular works – the Devil with attendant minions – in situ, followed by a simpler copy at GoMA. Not my photo, unfortunately.

The Devil - Niki de Saint Phalle

The Devil - Niki de Saint Phalle (In MOMA)

I think he/she looks more impressive in natural surroundings, amongst all that rampant nature. If you’re interested in Niki de Saint Phalle, here is a documentary about her life, insanely chopped up into tiny segments: 123456789

4 thoughts on “The Devil and Niki de Saint Phalle

  1. Another of your whimsical artists. Curiously for a minimalist, I love the decorative elements in some artworks, but they have to be just right. This one is, and doesn’t it look great in a natural setting, like stumbling across the fantastical.

    • It’s the product of genuine whimsy, the stuff that makes connections our conscious minds would never imagine. De Saint Phalle was working with a lot of unconscious baggage. Whimsy for whimsy’s sake is awful – twee, kitsch, sentimentality.

      I hope you got through the wildfires with no damage. I thought of you when I read the news.

      • You’re right, ‘whimsical’ is not it. Crit lite. When you can’t think of the right term. I absolutely love Maira Kalman: http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/?8qa whose work is as deep as you care to go. You’d love it!
        Weather has cooled down and no immediate danger of fires. Not a good time here. Melbourne had a record high of 48 degrees! I’ve been in 52 degrees at Coober Pedy. No wonder they all live underground. Yikes!

      • You’re right, I loved Maira Kalman’s blog. It brought American history alive in a way textbooks don’t. Gobbled down that last post in the series and I’ll start at the beginning when I have time to enjoy it properly.

        I always thought George Washington had wooden teeth. Another myth bites the dust.

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