NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE
JEAN TINGUELY

Duo. Rebel Souls, kindred spirits. Interwined destinies within art.

OCTOBER 18  –  DECEMBER 18 , 2015

«Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely were two personalities for many aspects poles apart, but yet, as opposites, they ended up to attract each other. Their bond was art, for both an essential element of their existence. In our exhibition we endeavored to relate them, reproducing in the setting their relationship, only apparently in contrast, between Niki’s vibrant colors and Jean’s coarse gears».
Patrizia Cattaneo Moresi, Artrust CEO

THE EXHIBITION

The exhibition displays sculptures, drawings and printings, as well as fourhanded works. The setting designed by the architect Eleonora Castagnetta Botta, leads the visitor through a path that emphasizes the works’ relations / oppositions of the two artists and tries to underline the couples’ art works dialoguing dimension that characterized their artistic career.
After many solo exhibitions of each artist, this exhibition can be considered to be the first one that is dedicated to the two artists simultaneously. Moreover, the exhibition can be configured as a monographic exhibition since Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely, although having individual artistic identities clearly different, together represent a rare and maybe a unique example of a very united couple in the art world. The exhibition is complemented with a catalog that lists out works on display. The catalog was created and published by Artrust while the Swiss architect Mario Botta, who had collaborated with us, wrote the text.  He disclosed his unrevealed testimony of his past collaboration with the artistic couple as well as of his close friendship with Niki de Saint Phalle.
Similar to the previous Artrust’s exhibitions, a series of educational and creative workshops for children of aged from 3 to 10 will be organized.
The entry to the exhibition is free and it is open from October 18th to December 18th, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Part of the artworks will be for sale for interested person.

VIRTUAL TOUR

THE OPENING EVENT

THE ARTISTS

Jean Tinguely was born in Freiburg (Switzerland) on May 22, 1925. Niki de Saint Phalle (in the civil registry; Catherine-Marie-Agnés Fal de Saint Phalle), was born on October 29, 1930 in Neully-sur-Seine, France. Jean’s father was a factory worker and his mother was of humble peasant origins while Niki’s father was a French banker and her mother an American actress. Two distinct environments of the artists but the same conflictual relationship that they both try to liberate themselves from theirs family. Jean’s rebelled background against his family despotism and paternal authority reinforced his intolerance towards all forms of power. On the other hand, Niki’s sufferance from being abused by her father at age 11 strengthened her rejection of her family and her aristocratic-bourgeois origins.
The artists’ beginnings and first experiences in the world of art were far apart. Jean already familiarized with sculpture during his adolescence by building wooden machines in the forests where he took refuge from the oppression of the family. He joined the anarchist circles in Basel and came into contact with the Bauhaus artists.

Niki practiced as a model and actress, before moving to art as a self-taught painter. She was admitted to a psychiatric hospital due to a severe depression and, therefore, painting became her anchor of salvation.
The setting of the two different approaches to art, far from academicism, could only ended up attracting the two artists to one another. The place of their first meeting was Paris, where they both moved in 1956. Soon their artistic meetings turned into loving attraction and they, then, left their partners (Jean was married with the artist Eva Aeppli, Niki with the writer Harry Mathews) and moved together in Tinguely’s atelier in Paris. They got married a few years later, in 1971.
Jean died in 1991. After his death, Niki devoted her life to perpetuate her husband’s art. Her activities contributed to the opening of the Tinguely Museum in Basel. She died in 2002 due to a respiratory disease, which developed in the last part of her life, caused by dusts produced by polyester shaping.

Photos
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