One decade ago, we were in Switzerland to scatter the grandparents ashes, smuggled across the ocean in shoe boxes. I bought a souvenir at the Tinguely Museum, a book with all handwritten text and a photograph on the cover of a shining mosaic rising out of the trees, a sphinx-like black empress with giant breasts and sparkling blue hair. The Tarot Garden by Niki de Saint Phalle.
What an amazing hat she wears!
I remember looking at this book stunned not just by the boldness and the whimsy, but the sheer volume. How could one woman possibly do so much?
Now I understand it differently.
Niki de Saint Phalle married young, became a bourgeois mother, and suffered a nervous breakdown, realizing she had become what she had always detested.
Grandma Ga married young, became a bourgeois mother, and ran off to Switzerland to have an affair, her love for Max so overpowering, that after they were married, she carried a small vial of acid in her purse to throw in the face of any rivals.
Niki de Saint Phalle took up painting, drawing, mosaics.
Ga took up making a myth of her torrid love affair with Max.
Niki de Saint Phalle on building the garden as quoted by the Tarot Garden's official website: