Lens-Artists PC: Splashing in Niki’s Garden

Here is a true story to lead you into the garden where the Magician stands on the head of the splashing High Priestess. Sounds like life.

It’s 1991 and I’m out of the country without my parents for the first time. The country is France and Paris is the last stop after Cote d’Azure, Lyon and several castles upon the Loire. I’m close to fed up with churches and museums by that point but Pompidou is Pompidou and we must go.

Not that the insides aren’t spectacular, but I find myself sitting by the large pool in front of the building and sketching. If you know me, you’d know that I never sketch. It’s just not in my blood. But this pool is peopled with such a variety of squirting and revolving objects that I pay close attention. There are lips and hearts and metal, up goes this and down goes that, and the entirety makes the kind of messy sense that is just what I need at the moment.

I never learn the name of the artist so it’s only after my first visit to the Tarot Garden (Il giardino dei tarocchi) here in the south of Tuscany that I see the resemblance. Indeed both are the works of Niki de Saint Phalle in cooperation with her husband Jean Tinguely (and several others).

There is something about the Garden that pulls me close. So far I’ve counted more than a dozen visits and I post photos from there regularly. Today’s photos are all from my most recent visit last month.

And this Saturday I can go again. It’s December 1, the first Saturday in the month when the Tarot Garden is free to enter (until April when the season starts and freedom is gone).

Just be sure you’re there at 9 when it opens. As I was leaving the last time, I was greeted by this view:

What are they building? I suppose a refreshment unit of some sort.

Since today’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge calls for splashes, here is how Niki envisioned the flow of life.

If you wish to see how the sculptures, representing the major tarot cards, are placed in the Tarot Garden, here is the interactive map.

For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, hosted by Patti of pilotfishblog.com: Splash!

28 thoughts on “Lens-Artists PC: Splashing in Niki’s Garden

    1. Thank you, Dan. Oh yes, I can only imagine. After a colourless and sunless week in Slovenia I started to appreciate more the blues of the sky and the sea and the greens of the pines and grass here, even in winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I was about to scold you for being in Barcelona and not dropping by Lisbon when I actually read your post and realized these are not photos from Park Güell 🙂 But I understand that Niki de Saint Phalle was a big Gaudí fan?

    – Verne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh, Verne, Barcelona and Lisbon, two places where I haven’t been yet. How far are they from each other? Yes, Niki was indeed much inspired by Gaudí. What I find most peculiar is that she, and later the heirs, on purpose left the access a bit, how shall I say, unkempt: no asphalt parking, quite a long way up to the park, no facilities (other than the toilet and the giftshop that probably came after her passing). They are building something now, we shall see what it becomes. Something tells me that I’d enjoy Barcelona a lot, and Lisbon of course as well. Thank you!


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