(b Neuilly-sur-Seine, 29 Oct. 1930; d La Jolla, Calif., 21 May 2002).
French sculptor, painter, graphic artist, and film-maker, one of the great entertainers of modern art. In 1952 she started painting without formal artistic training and she first came to prominence in 1960 with ‘rifle-shot’ paintings that incorporated containers of paint intended to be burst and spattered when shot with a pistol. After she separated from her husband in 1960 she lived with Jean Tinguely (they married in 1971), with whom she collaborated on numerous projects, notably the enormous sculpture Hon (Swedish: ‘She’) erected at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, in 1963 (destroyed). It was in the form of a reclining woman (more than 25 m (80 ft) long) whose interior was a giant ‘environment’ reminiscent of a funfair; visitors entered through the vagina. The attractions inside included a milk bar in the breasts and a cinema showing Greta Garbo movies. Externally the figure was gaudily painted in a manner similar to that of her series of Nanas—grotesque fat ladies. Her other works included happenings and films, and from 1979 she worked on a huge sculpture garden at Garavicchio in Italy, with figures based on tarot cards (it opened to the public in 1998). Other projects of her later years included a touching book on AIDS addressed to her son (AIDS: You Can't Catch it Holding Hands, 1987), and a giant figure of the Loch Ness monster, made for an exhibition of her work in Glasgow in 1992 (it is now at the Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain, Nice).