Monday, March 1, 2010

About Art - The Nanas

The Nanas is a series of outdoor art sculptures created by Niki de Saint Phalle, born Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle (29 October 1930–21 May 2002) who was a French sculptor, painter, and film maker. The work is found in the German city of Hannover.

The work was began in the mid-sixties after her "Shooting paintings" period, and came to be known as a period when she explored the various roles of women. She made life size dolls of women, such as brides and mothers giving birth. They were usually dressed in white. They were primarily made of polyester with a wire framework. They were generally created from papier mâché.

Inspired by the pregnancy of her friend Clarice Rivers, the wife of American artist Larry Rivers, she began to use her artwork to consider archetypal female figures in relation to her thinking on the position of women in society. Her artistic expression of the proverbial everywoman were named 'Nanas'. The first of these freely posed forms—made of papier-mâché, yarn, and cloth—were exhibited at the Alexander Iolas Gallery in Paris in September 1965. Encouraged by Iolas, she started a highly productive output of graphic work that accompanied exhibitions that included posters, books, and writings.

The appearance of three brightly-coloured, amply-proportioned polyester Nanas beside the River Leine in 1974 raised a storm of protest as well from some Hanoverians and sparked off the city's first partisan and far-reaching debate about art in public urban spaces. Today the Nanas, who quickly became a symbol of the EXPO City, have a firm place in the affections of local people. Find out more at:

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