The Tarot Garden in the municipality of Capalbio, in the small town of Garavicchio, is one of the most fascinating contemporary art parks in Tuscany and also one of the most original and fun attractions in the Maremma. Niki de Saint-Phalle began designing it in 1979, inspired by Gaudi's Parc Guell in Barcelona. It's a dream-like journey through the 22 figures of the Tarot cards. The artist worked on it with the help of Jean Tinguely, until his death in 2002.
The construction of the garden required 17 years of dedication, an enormous amount of work and a cost of about 10 billion lire. The artist financed herself through other works, books, films and the production of a line of perfumes. Niki's main collaborators, in addition to Jean Tinguely, were Rico Weber, Ricardo Menon and Roberto Aureli who participated at different times. However, the project was ideated by Niki, the director of a collective work that organizes technical contributions from many diverse sectors: multi-material artists, architects, interior decorators, potters, skilled workers, administration experts and botanists.
From July 9 to November 3, 2021, the Municipality of Capalbio pays tribute to the extraordinary work of Niki de Saint Phalle, focusing on her artistic relationship with Italy in a major exhibition curated by Lucia Pesapane. Thanks to testimonies provided by friends and collaborators, who dedicated themselves to the Tarot garden alongside the artist, the exhibition reveals the relevance of the feminist, environmentalist, avant-garde and the passionate message that the artist has left as a gift to Tuscany.
“The place of dreams: Niki de Saint Phalle's Tarot Garden” follows a specific thematic path. It takes place in two exhibition spaces that intersect and complement each other, but each of these has its own specific soul. At Palazzo Collacchioni in the historic village of Capalbio, the history of the Tarot Garden is retraced, from the late seventies to today, through photos, videos, sculptures, maquettes and collages that help to understand her way of working and her true spirit. In the Il Frantoio Gallery, several historical works are exhibited, including assemblages from the 1960s, raw clay maquettes preliminary to the creation of the garden, her final masterpiece, as well as unpublished archive videos.
The exhibition has more than 100 works, including sculptures, drawings, videos and photographs from between the sixties and nineties, several of which are previously unpublished. The generosity of collectors as well as the collaboration of the Il Giardino dei Tarocchi Foundation, The Niki Charitable Art Foundation and the Capalbio Foundation have made this important project possible.