Niki's Magic World in Hannover
In Herrenhausen is to be found the final love token given to the people of
Hannover by the world-famous artist Niki de Saint Phalle: LA GROTTE. In a 325-year-old
grotto in the baroque Great Garden she has created, as she promised before her
death, “a unique, an unmistakable work.” Since it was opened in
May 2003, this place of enchantment has exerted a magic attraction on Niki’s
fans from all over the world.
Mosaics composed of mirrors, pebbles and coloured glass come together to give visitors a fascinating sensuous experience; 144 polyester figures, some cheerfully philosophical, others cheekily “poppish”, reflect Niki’s ideas about life, death, the cosmos and spirituality. Constantly changing light conditions draw attention to ever new facets; they kindle a warm fire or disseminate a mystic atmosphere that captivates children and adults alike.
A visit to Hannover is simply a must for any fan of the American artist, who was a scion of an aristocratic French family. Niki bequeathed to the capital of Lower Saxony the most comprehensive collection of her sculptures, paintings and drawings in the world; and for the city’s streets she created the three corpulent Nanas on the banks of the River Leine. These, initially a source of raging controversy but today greatly loved, have become a landmark and symbol of the city. In grateful recognition of a friendship that lasted decades the City made her an honorary citizen, and has named a popular shopping arcade after her.