The place of dreams : The Tarot Garden of Niki de Saint Phalle

Il luogo dei sogni : Il Giardino dei Tarocchi de Niki de Saint Phalle

(The place of dreams : The Tarot Garden)

Capalbio, July 9 – November 3, 2021
Palazzo Collacchioni – Galleria Il Frantoio

The City of Capalbio pays tribute to the work of Niki de Saint Phalle, centered on her artistic relationship with Italy, with a major exhibition curated by Lucia Pesapane.

Tarot Garden, 1991 @Il Giardino dei Tarocchi. Litografia 60.3 x 80 cm

Thanks to the testimonies of friends and collaborators, who with the artist gave life to the Tarot Garden, the exhibition tells the actuality of the feminist, ecological, avant-garde and committed message that she left us as a gift. More than 100 works, including sculptures, drawings, videos, photographs between the sixties and nineties, some of which are unpublished and never presented to the public.

The generosity of collectors with the collaboration of the Tarot Garden Foundation, The Niki Charitable Art Foundation and Capalbio Foundation have finally made this important project possible.

The Tarot Garden, a splendid artistic park located in Garavicchio in the municipality of Capalbio, is the result of a lifetime dedicated by Niki de Saint Phalle to art and the proof that dreams can come true, even if you are a woman, an artist, an entrepreneur and the sole financier of such a work. Like most of her work, the Garden is the manifestation of a microcosm capable of revealing the deepest and most secret archetypal images of our unconscious. For the visitor who crosses the perimeter wall, which symbolically separates the real world from the imaginary one, an initiatory journey opens up, leading him to fight dragons and devils and to run into queens and prophets to finally meet the Angel of Temperance.

Italy / Viva Italia, 1984
Viva l’Italia, 1984. Collezione Privata. Litografia 98 x 68 cm

The Tarot Garden is a place to live in community, a place where life is marked by the rhythm of the sun and the moon and by the will to share. This artistic path, which translates into a real political action, is today more relevant than ever, in a reality where the concepts of confinement and solitude undermine the foundations of a society that the artist wanted based instead on the sense of participation.

In Capalbio Niki de Saint Phalle shares everything with her assistants and friends, she values and encourages her collaborators to create with her in the name of a collective project where Art is the absolute protagonist. Already in the eighties the artist put into action her research to live in a different collectivity, in a compassionate and empathic society rich in community values. Not only as an artist but also as a woman of action and avant-garde. An ante litteram feminist, from the fifties she defended the civil rights of African-Americans. In the nineties was strong her criticism of the old Continent, which promulgated a dangerous rise of conservatism, siding in favor of a united and progressive Europe. “I dream of living in a space without borders”- he always declared. His reflections on ecological issues and climate change became increasingly urgent, especially in the last years of his life. In light of these social commitments, which she was so passionate about, Niki would certainly have considered the crisis we are facing today as a crucial moment to create something new and better. Deeply convinced of the human capacity for innovation and reinvention, she would have interpreted this time as a moment of collective awareness, which can open a new way against the arrogance and aggressiveness of the political, economic and financial system.

La Lune (Moon Goddess), 1997
La Lune, 1997. © Il Giardino dei Tarocchi Litografia, collage, adesivi brillanti 75 x 56.8 cm

Il luogo dei sogni : Il Giardino dei Tarocchi de Niki de Saint Phalle follows a precise thematic path: the exhibition takes place in two exhibition places that intersect and complement each other, but each of them has its own specific soul. In Palazzo Collacchioni, in the ancient village of Capalbio, the history of the Tarot Garden is retraced, from the late seventies to the present day through photos, videos, sculptures, maquettes, collages that help to understand his way of working and his true spirit. In the Gallery Il Frantoio are exposed some historical works, including assemblages of the ’60s, raw clay maquettes preliminary to the realization of the Garden, his final masterpiece, and unpublished archive videos.

Here the curatorial choices have privileged the analysis of the symbolic language of the artist, focusing on the interpretation of the Tarot cards. Sculptures of the cards are also exhibited, accompanied by lithographs, drawings and quotations.

The press release ( in italian only)