Aris Kalaizis is a painter. He lives and works in Leipzig where he grew up as a son of Greek immigrants. It was also here where he completed his art education as “Meisterschueler” with Arno Rink. Because of this he is often attributed to the Neue Leipziger Schule. His paintings are realistic and surreal at the same time. They combine dream and reality. The American author and scientist Carol Strickland invented a specific word for it: Sottorealism.
Characteristic of his work is the time-consuming process in which his paintings develop. It includes several stages ranging from achieving a state of inner emptiness and receptiveness, via creating and photographically documenting a scenery (depending on the season inside the workshop or outdoor), where craftsmen, background actors or real actors become part of the scenary to the actual realization of a painting in his studio in Leipzig.
Here, in the loft-like premises of a former printing and publishing house of the early 20th century, Aris Kalaizis welcomed Age of Artists end of July of this year. We talked to him about his background, his work as an artist, the art of living, doubt and crisis, the question of how and what people can learn from art, and about the pursuit of insight and enlightenment:
“Maybe we have to abandon the idea of enlightenment, and that people, when they sit down and deal long enough with enlightenment they become similarly enlightened. On the contrary, we should assume that we are nothing. As people we are nothing. We are not even human. We are the design of a human being. Throughout our lives we have to gradually become humans by our deeds. Good deeds more or less. As such we establish ourselves as humans or gradually develop into a human being. Along with it goes the fact that we are not really rich in wisdom, as Enlightenment suggests, but rich in foolishness. We are full of foolishness and we have to spend this foolishness throughout our lives as if it was useless ballast. Because we gain experience, because we make mistakes, and everything that goes with it. Then, I think, we get a little further in our relationship with individuation, which is for many people of our time a burden. It’s not only a pleasure. An artist, a painter, I say, sees it as a pleasure. But many people see the difficulty of being an individual as a load or or something to be afraid of.”
Please access the short version of the interview here.