Friday, April 11, 2008

The Grotto by Niki de Saint Phalle

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Here are some pictures from my trip to Germany some months ago. This unassuming building is part of the Royal Herrenhaeuser Gardens, a large Baroque garden in Hannover. Once there was a castle too but it was destroyed in the Second World War, I seem to remember. The remaining gardens are very beautiful and open to the public. It was just across the street from my former art school.

I wasn't here for at least 12 years, and I remember this small building always closed. This time I went with my good friend Heide and she said "Let's see the Grotto". I had no idea what was waiting for me. I went inside and was shear overwhelmed by the colors, light and the sparkle I was surrounded with.

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The artist Niki de Saint Phalle created this piece of art you can walk into. It's magical. There was this surprise in me that it is possible to totally “follow your bliss,” no stops in going for your own sense of beauty. It makes you dance. The room around you becomes an inner one.

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It is remarkable to me that this was her last project the last project she completed herself * before she died in 2002. There is this feeling of going into another world…

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And here we go again into the historical part of the garden.

It's amazing how it all works together and complements each other, the old and the new, the formal and the playful.

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* ETA: Someone left a comment pointing to this: Queen Califia's Magical Circle in Escondido, California which started after The Grotto and completed posthumously. Well worth a look

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  • 2 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Truly beautiful photos.
    Niki's last work, actually, was "Queen Califia's Magical Circle" in Escondido, California - started later than the Grotto and finished posthumously, also.
    www.queencalifia.org

    Ingrid Pape-Sheldon said...

    I was aware of the work in California, but didn't know it was later. Thanks for the clarification and the compliment.