In the early 1960’s, paper heroines emerge from the comics plates to explore a forbidden world. Their names are Barbarella, Jodelle, Pravda la survireuse (Pravda the motorized survivor)… They are free, powerful and sensual such as the Amazons. Born out of a teenage culture, they emboy a new ideal that will be the starting point for an unprecedented social and sexual revolution.
Besides these paper representations, other heroines, very real ones, take a part in the invention of a new artistic language – undoubtedly the most popular one of the second half of the 20th century: the Pop Art. Their works, like comic books, are full of vibrant rainbow colours. Through various ways, they envision a different world, with dreamed forms and bet on the construction of a better world rather than on an artificial amnesia of the dark hours of the past. Until 1973, the progressive future seem reachable (sexual emancipation, social rights, pacifism, extraterrestrial imaginations, etc.), and their works proclaim it: Love is All We Need! However, the artists are fully aware of the obstacles that litter this time capsule from 1961 to 1973, particularly with the imperialist wars, geopolitical polarities, the frantic race for consumption, etc. In this sense, the Amazons of Pop become complex, creaky … and tinged with raging humour.
For the first time on this scale, She-Bam Pow POP Wizz! tells us the open story of a generation of European and North American women who contributed with bold and flamboyance, to a less famous side of international Pop Art. For MAMAC 30th anniversary, this exhibition highlights a major axis of its collection – the face to face between New Realism and Pop Art – and one of its charismatic figures: the Franco-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle. In her wake, it is the essential contribution of female artists to Pop Art history that is shown here.
Artists and Amazons: Evelyne AXELL, BARBARELLA, Brigitte BARDOT, Marion BARUCH, Pauline BOTY, Martine CANNEEL, Lourdes CASTRO, Judy CHICAGO, CHRYSSA, France CRISTINI, Christa DICHGANS, Rosalyn DREXLER, Giosetta FIORONI, Jane FONDA, Ruth FRANCKEN, Ángela GARCÍA, Jann HAWORTH, Dorothy IANNONE, JODELLE, Jacqueline DE JONG, Sister Corita KENT, Kiki KOGELNIK, Kay KURT, Nicola L., Ketty LA ROCCA, Natalia LL., Milvia MAGLIONE, Lucia MARCUCCI, Marie MENKEN, Marilyn MONROE, Louise NEVELSON, Isabel OLIVER CUEVAS, Yoko ONO, Ulrike OTTINGER, Emma PEEL, PRAVDA la survireuse, Martha ROSLER, Niki de SAINT PHALLE, Carolee SCHNEEMANN, Marjorie STRIDER, STURTEVANT, Hannah WILKE, May WILSON.
This exhibition has been recognized of national interest by the Ministry of Culture. As such, it receives exceptional financial support from the State.
Hélène Guenin, director of MAMAC & Géraldine Gourbe, philosopher, art critic and curator