Niki de Saint Phalle: The Garden of Secrets

Dominique Osuch and Sandrine Martin. NBM, $29.99 (186p) ISBN 978-1-68112-158-1
Osuch captures the spirit of her subject in this exceptional graphic biography of avant-garde sculptor, painter, and filmmaker Niki de Saint Phalle. Haunted by years of abuse suffered at the hands of her father, de Saint Phalle expresses her complex feelings through enormous sculptures and installations that are as strange, beautiful, and enigmatic as their creator. The biography documents the artist’s birth in 1930 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France; the psychological trauma that defined her adolescence and young adulthood; her marriage at 18; the birth of her two children, and her wanderings with her husband and children throughout Europe. After violently reacting to being told her husband had an affair, and attempting suicide, de Saint Phalle checks into a psychiatric ward in Nice in the ’50s. She survives institutionalization, including shock therapy and starts on her path toward becoming a revered pop artist. (“I came in crazy, I’ll come out painting.”) Both the structure of the narrative and its visual canvas are inspired, whether in the tarot cards that introduce each chapter’s symbolism, or the black and white illustrations punctuated strategically with color. Indeed, color becomes an emotive force, with stunning two-page spreads, such as the inspiring portrait of the gardens that the young family explore while in Spain. For readers who follow contemporary art, this homage brings to light the tumultuous history that fed de Saint Phalle’s creativity. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Genre: Comics
Open Ebook - 186 pages - 978-1-68112-160-4
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