Separates from husband; he moves to new apartment with children. Sets up studio and continues her artistic experiments, producing assemblages in plaster and the "target" paintings. Included in group exhibition Comparison: Peinture-Sculpture at the Musee d'Art Modernede la Ville de Paris. Moves with Jean Tinguely into the Impasse Ronsin where they share the same studio and live surrounded by other artists, such as Brancusi. Through Tinguely, meets Pontus Hulten, then director of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. He includes her in several important exhibitions at the time and acquires work for the museum's collection.
Expands on the "target" paintings with a series of "shooting" paintings or tirs—assemblages of disparate objects held together with nails and chicken wire on boards covered with plaster that conceals containers of paint. When hit by a bullet from a pistol, rifle or cannon fired by the artist or others, they produce spontaneous effects and the dispersion of colors. As they evolve, the tirs become larger, more elaborate in concept and include elements of spectacle and performance. Pierre Restany, founder of the Nouveau Réalisme, attends first public tir, and invites her to become a member. Becomes involved in the ideas, festivals and activities of this group whose members include Arman, Christo, Gérard Deschamps, Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely. First solo exhibition in Paris at Galerie J with assemblages, tirs and a public shooting area. Exhibits in group shows in Europe and the United States. Becomes friends with American artists staying in Paris including Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Larry Rivers and his wife Clarice, and will participate in various projects with them over the years. With Tinguely, introduced to Salvador Dali by Marcel Duchamp. Included in The Art of Assemblage curated by William Seitz at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
In February 1962, travels with Tinguely to California and visits Simon Rodia's Watts Towers in south Los Angeles. Stages her first two "shootings" in the United States, in Malibu, with one assisted by Ed Kienholz. Major "shooting" painting King Kong created in LA and sponsored by Dawn Gallery; later acquired by Moderna Museet, Stockholm. With Tinguely, finds an old country inn outside of Paris in Soisy sur Ecole to live and work. Begins creating figurative reliefs—confrontational depictions of women, some giving birth or vivisectioned. Works on other figurative assemblages including freestanding dragons, monsters and brides presented in first solo show at Hanover Gallery, London. Exhibits ten "shooting" paintings and altars at Galerie Rive Droite, Paris. Among the visitors is Alexander Lolas who invites her to exhibit at his New York gallery in October. This first one-woman show in New York marks the beginning of a long friendship with gallerist who provides her with financial support and introduces her to Surrealists such as Victor Brauner, Max Ernst, Matta and René Magritte.
Inspired by the pregnancy of Larry Rivers’ wife Clarice, she begins considering archetypal female figures in relation to the position of women in society. Her updated versions of "everywoman" are named Nanas (French for "dame"). The first of these freely posed forms, made of papier-mâché, yarn and cloth are exhibited at the Alexander Lolas Gallery, Paris, in September 1965. For this show, Lolas publishes her first artist book that includes handwritten words in combination with drawings of Nanas. In 1966, collaborates with Tinguely and Per Olof Ultlvedt on a large-scale sculptural installation, Hon (Swedish for "she") for the Moderna Museet, Stockholm. The outer form of Hon is a giant, reclining Nana whose internal environ- ment is entered from between her legs. The immense public reaction to the work is written about in magazines and newspapers throughout the world. The interactive quality of the sculpture, combined with a continued fascination with fantastic types of architecture, intensifies her resolve to see her own architectural ambitions realized. Meets Swiss artist Rico Weber during construction. Over the next ten years, he will be an important assistant/ collaborator for both she and Tinguely.
Works with Tinguely on Le Paradis Fantastique, a commission from the French government for the French Pavilion at Expo '67 in Montreal. Working on Paradis Fantastique, she is exposed to toxic fumes produced by polyester. This and other materials used in her work cause severe damage to her lungs resulting in recurrent health problems. First retrospective Les Nanas au Pouvoir (Nana Power) is held at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Creates a number of new pieces for the show that emphasize a direction toward architectural and functional design (Nana Dream House and Nana Fountain) and the placement of elements to form a sculptural tableau (The Bride's Dream). In October, exhibits her eighteen-part wall relief, Last Night I Had a Dream, at the Galerie Alexandre Lolas, Paris. Publishes series of semi-autobiographical serigraphs that are executed in a pictographic style combining images, letters and writing into a complete narrative. Exhibits extensively in the United States.
First permanent architectural project is private commission for Rainer Von Dietz's summer residence in the South of France. The project consists of three buildings, each uniquely shaped, detailed and painted, completed in 1971 Sculpture Black Venus acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and exhibited in museum's show, Contemporary American Sculpture, Selection II, April 1969.