Feminine Dialogue: Niki de Saint Phalle and Shen Yuan

Feminine Dialogue: Niki de Saint Phalle and Shen Yuan
#Exhibitions
Niki de Saint Phalle & Shen Yuan, Power Station Of Art, Shanghai 2018

An homage to HON, a milestone work created in 1966 by Niki de Saint Phalle, one of the first large-scale works in the history of women’s art. The Swedish word "HON", which means "she", is connected to two Chinese characters that are similar to the word “she” in Chinese. Out of this linguistic connection came the basis for a conversation between two contemporary artists, regardless of their differing backgrounds. At the start of the 1960s, when abstract art was still prevalent in the West, Niki emerged, like an intruder, without having any formal art instruction. She specialised in “fire” paintings and in assembling bizarre objects, covered in paint, hiding paint containers that produced the spontaneous effect of splashing colour everywhere when pierced by bullets. Her “target” paintings made her famous. Niki de Saint Phalle became a key figure in the New Realism movement in Europe - she was the one to lead the conceptual transition in painting and sculpture. Shen Yuan, born Xianyou, in Fujian in 1959, experimented with life-change and culture shock, moving to France in the ‘90s. Skilled in using quotidian objects to create her art, she prefers to use the most difficult and those which dissolve most quickly - knitwear, stitching, hats and shoes constantly show up in her works, reflecting the simplicity of the experience of being a woman, as well as the breadth of female discourse.

Chiara Vedovetto - © 2018 ARTE.it for Bulgari Hotel Shanghai