Niki de Saint-Phalle, First Shooting Impasse Ronsin, Paris, (1961)
De Saint-Phalle made a series of these Tir a Volonte (Fire at Will) paintings. She attached bags of liquid pigment on to their surfaces which burst when she or other artists (including Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns) fired a .22 calibre rifle at the work. She first presented these “shoot paintings” at the Galerie J. in Paris in 1961 with the words: “There are some ideas that cause emotions. My shooting was an emotion that provoked an idea. So my anger became a death ritual without victims.”
Later she wrote: “I shot because it was fun and made me feel great. I shot because I was fascinated watching the painting bleed and die. I shot for that moment of magic… Red, yellow, blue- the painting is crying the painting is dead. I have killed the painting. It is reborn.
-Niki de Saint-Phalle, Artist’s statement, 1960