Niki de Saint Phalle: Buddha

Niki de Saint Phalle began creating figurative works in the mid-1960s. In response to the pressures of domestic life as daughter, mother and wife, she created her iconic Nana figures. The colourful and voluptuous sculptural works are celebrations of the female form. These goddess-like figures continued as a form of expression throughout the artist’s life, and paralleled modern feminist efforts to reconsider and revalue the female body.

Saint Phalle created a sculpture garden in Tuscany, Italy, for which she made many works and intended to be a joyful place. The mosaic surfaces in Saint Phalle’s work was inspired by the architect Antoni Gaudí and the technique he pioneered which involved applying pieces broken ceramic tiles, as can be seen in Buddha. The scale of the work and the addition of the seat blurs the boundaries between sculpture and function.