MIRROR MIRROR MOTHER – Niki de Saint Phalle SCHUNCK Heerlen


STRONG woman. Stronger than my Dad.
Yet she spends most of her time doing only futile things.
If she were happy I wouldn’t mind. But she is always nervous and tense.
Her life is built on the illusion that she is indespensible to my father and me.
She wants me to share her illusions but I can’t.

“Mother you wanted to be proud of us. Father was less ambitious for us. The roles were reversed from the usual ones. Mother, I conquered the world for you. You were the mother I needed. I’m a fighter. What would I have done with a Mother who smothered me in love? You used to come and visit my studio when I was 25 and married to Harry; you would hide your beautiful eyes with your hands so as not to see my horrible paintings. How stimulating it was! You hated Harry. You felt he was stealing my feminine role when you found him vacuum cleaning the apartment one day. You couldn’t understand. It was great!

Remember the first time I introduced you to Jean Tinquely and we went to the Coupole to have lunch? You shut your beautiful eyes and in a very dramatic way said: “I won’t eat with my daughter’s lover. Why can’t you stay with your husband and have a lover secretly like everyone does?” Jean was highly amused by you but I left the table, enraged. From then on, every time you saw Jean he flirted with you and you loved it. You were never the big Saint you pretended to be. I remember several of your lovers when I was a teenager. There was one reheaded, attractive journalist I particularily hated.

Everything had to be hidden for you Mother. I would show. I WOULD SHOW EVERYTHING. My heart, my emotions. Green, blue, red, yellow, all colours. I would show fear, anger, laughter, tenderness in my work. In my life I found it more difficult. I wish you were still around Mother. I would love to take you by the hand and show you the Tarotgarden You might not have such a bad opinion of me today. Who knows? Thank you Mother. What a boring life I would have had without you.


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