World famous are the Nana’s of the French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle (1930 – 2002) who will be paying full attention to the Museum aan aan Zee in the autumn of 2019. Colorful, exuberantly cheerful female figures who dance, jump and sparkle with energy . Their joie de vivre is contagious on everyone. The Nana’s are depicted on posters and towels, populate exhibitions and are pontifical in the public space. In the mid-sixties of the 20th century, the Nana’s, with their unambiguous polyester appearance, caused quite a stir in the world of modern art. Nevertheless, they have continued to be popular with the general public ever since. It is not without reason that ‘Nana power’ is used. After all, they are strong women that you must take into account.
Nana is timeless. It is Niki de Saint Phalles personal version of Eve, of Venus, of all women in the world, past and present. With her Nana, the sculptor has created an iconic female image. Self-conscious and independent, the Nana’s convey a current message. The eternal debate about the relationship between men and women, equal treatment and remuneration, as well as the recent worldwide attention for the #MeToo movement, confirm that time and time again.
The choice of Museum Beelden aan Zee for this solo by Nana is also closely linked to the origin of the collection and the location of the museum. In 1994, twenty-five years ago, the building designed by architect Wim Quist was opened as a museum based on the sculpture collection of the collector couple Scholten-Miltenburg. The image of man is central to that collection. The museum is situated on the North Sea beach of the historic seaside resort of Scheveningen and thus forms a direct link with the brightly colored bathing suits of the Nana’s. When the Scholtens added the work Les Baigneurs by Niki de Saint Phalle to their collection in 1980, they could not of course suspect that connection.
Museum Beelden aan Zee shows the development of the Nana’s since 1965 in all their diversity through the finest loans from numerous renowned international museum collections such as those from the Sprengel Museum in Hanover and the Museum of Modern and Art Contemporary in Nice. From the early textile machined figures of papier-mâché to the giant polyester sculptures from the later years. Nana’s, in short, in all shapes, colors, sizes and materials. In addition to autonomous sculptures, the exhibition also pays attention to the Nana’s in the applied atmosphere – as a chair, sofa or fountain – and to the Nana’s on paper, such as sketches, lithographs and exhibition posters. Nana aan Zee promises to give the Beelden aan Zee museum a warm and exuberant winter.