Love, Obsession and Faith: A Visit to the Tarot Garden

To mark the new year, we bring you a love letter to Niki de Saint Phalle from Hannah Marshall, writing in The Riviera Times.

Marshall, whose move to France was inspired by Niki and her work, describes “my pilgrimage to her holy land” — a trip to the Tarot Garden, the masterpiece in Tuscany on which Niki worked for decades:

Watching Natasha run from the Sun to the Star, clambering over dragons in the woods and squeezing into cubbyholes, I remember a favourite de Saint Phalle quote: “In this world of so much pain, if a sculpture of mine can give a moment of joy, a moment of life to a passerby, I feel rewarded.”

“Come quick, you have to see this,” Natasha shouts at me, “now this really is magical.” She pulls me into the sugar-plum interior of the Emperor, her eyes wide. And still, I’m not sure who is happier, the real child holding my hand or the eternal one trapped inside of me.

We hope you enjoy Marshall’s beautifully written account of her visit as much as we did.