Aris Kalaizis

It's when I paint that I gain certainty of living.

A dis­cus­sion between the lyr­i­cist Paul-Henri Camp­bell and Aris Kala­izis about his Greek roots, the artist­ic awaken­ing as well as the reli­gious driv­ing force in his paintings

Aris Kalaizis | The Great Miracle | Oil on wood | 20 x 23 cm | 2015
Aris Kalaizis | The Great Miracle | Oil on wood | 20 x 23 cm | 2015

C: You were born in 1966. Your moth­er was a type­set­ter and your fath­er a pro­cess engraver in the print­ing industry. You were ini­tially trained in off­set print­ing and later became a tech­ni­cian in the photo lab. After the fall of the Iron Cur­tain, you stud­ied paint­ing at the Academy of Visu­al Arts under Pro­fess­or Arno Rink and became his Meister­schüler in 2000. Although you have Greek roots, you've spent your entire life in Leipzig. What do you asso­ci­ate with the term home­land or patria?

K: Yeah, true. I'm deeply rooted in Leipzig. I feel very con­nec­ted with the low­lands of Sax­ony. My friends and fam­ily live here. But you asked about ›home­land‹, and I'm not sure if ref­er­ence to a spe­cif­ic topo­graphy also equally implies a ref­er­ence to one's homeland.

C: Com­ment on that a bit more, please?

K: But not only the place, in which one lives, but also the land­scape, in which one nev­er had been before, may equally be searched out and loved by the soul. You know, a hill in north­ern Greece may be closer to my heart than the sand­stone nat­ive to the banks of the River Elbe here in Ger­many. Home­land is not always a ques­tion of being there on the ground.


C: While still chil­dren escap­ing the Greek civil war (1946−1949), your par­ents emig­rated to what was then the Soviet Sec­tor of East­ern Ger­many, the GDR. Both lived at a board­ing school in Leipzig as thir­teen and four­teen year old teen­agers, where they grew up togeth­er with oth­er Greek chil­dren. They came in con­tact with a for­eign lan­guage and cul­ture. How did your par­ents exper­i­ence the diaspora?

K: My first con­scious recol­lec­tions of this date from 1980. I was four­teen then. It was at that age when I – prob­ably driv­en by some inner neces­sity – to be inter­ested in Greek things and the life of my par­ents. They lead a rel­at­ively simple and humble exist­ence. You must know that by leav­ing Greece dur­ing the civil war, they not only left the coun­try, but also were per­man­ently sep­ar­ated from their par­ents. You prob­ably can ima­gine what it means for a young per­son to be pulled out of life like that and to be forced to begin a new exist­ence far away from his or her par­ents. Nev­er­the­less, they nev­er failed in offer­ing my broth­er and me love as well as trust – des­pite our eco­nom­ic­ally dif­fi­cult situ­ation at that time.

C: How would you describe the Greek impact in your work?

K: How could someone answer that ques­tion who nev­er even learned about, say, the Ger­man forests and Greek myth­o­logy. You see, this brings us right back to our shaky under­stand­ing of home­lands and all the think­able detours that aren’t reflec­ted in any pass­port. Cer­tainly, I've been influ­enced by both cul­tures in this or that way, and both tra­di­tions, there­fore, con­tin­ue to exert their influ­ence, even when I paint. I'm thank­ful for that, because this dual­ity enriches me. But because of this spe­cif­ic con­di­tion there is noth­ing in my work that is exclus­ively Ger­man or exclus­ively Greek.

C: You are express­ing some­thing that I've noticed a lot in your work. You like detours and diversions.

K: True. In the life of my par­ents and my own, tak­ing detours has brought out the greatest vari­ety of experience.

C: How did you come to painting?

K: Hav­ing been a train­ee in off­set print­ing, I worked at a large print­ing com­pany in Leipzig. At that point, I hadn’t had any intense encoun­ters with the vari­ous arts. The only thing I used to do at that time was design cov­ers for Heavy Met­al albums and T‑Shirts. But I nev­er thought of it as being par­tic­u­larly cre­at­ive. How­ever, that's how I came in con­tact with a circle of young work­ers at the print­ing com­pany. It was a group of five or six appren­tices who – far from what was the main­stream in the GDR – wrote poems, played music, or – well – painted. Even though, we all knew that our future would be some­where bey­ond the print­ing industry or the print­ing machine, we enjoyed the groove that was between us and felt it to be vibrant as well as inspiring.

C: So that's the cli­mate in which you became alert »artist­ic­ally and awoke«?

K: Yes. There was a young guy in that print­ing com­pany who had lost his arm in one of the machines. He had a strange name: Hol­ger-Makari­os Oley. He had nick­named him­self after the Cyp­ri­ote arch­bish­op Makari­os III. After his acci­dent, he had taken up engin­eer­ing and worked in an office at the com­pany. Dur­ing breaks, I used to vis­it him there. At first, I only stopped in occa­sion­ally. One day, I was sit­ting in his office again. There was a desk between us. He asked to come around and pulled open the draw­er, in which had hid away some card­board, a few oil col­ors, and tur­pen­tine. Dis­reg­ard­ing the fact that there's also a lot of char­ac­ter­ist­ic his­tory of the GDR in that anec­dote, I was indeed fas­cin­ated at that moment — and infec­ted. I remem­ber how I hopped on the tram that day with a feel­ing of utter joy. I went to the book­store and bought an incred­ibly miser­ably prin­ted book with the pic­tures by a paint­er called Velázquez. It was only much later that I real­ized how import­ant that paint­er would be for me. I couldn’t do a lot with that type of paint­ing at the time, because I was more inter­ested in the sur­real worlds my friends lived in. At the time, I bought the book, which I still own, like oth­er people buy manu­als on »How do I Build a House« or »Tail­or­ing made Easy«.

The Hour of Dissembodiment | Oil on canvas | 55 x 71 in | 2012
The Hour of Dissembodiment | Oil on canvas | 55 x 71 in | 2012

C: To me it's sur­pris­ing that you became inter­ested in prein­dus­tri­al prin­ciples of art, while work­ing in that indus­tri­al print­ing envir­on­ment. How did your path con­tin­ue from there?

K: I, of course, vis­ited my friend Makari­os every day in his office, or as often as I could, in order fol­low the pro­gress he was mak­ing with the little paint­ing in his draw­er. When I got home, I told my fath­er about my exper­i­ences. He sensed my enthu­si­asm and secretly built an easel out of scrap wood in our cel­lar, which he gave me as a gift on Christ­mas 1985.

C: Con­sid­er­ing how late you began to paint, you must've been a quick learner and developed fast?

K: Maybe. But it shows how unex­pec­ted and coin­cid­ent­al events can change a life; just like that encounter changed the course of my life.

C: Mean­while you've ded­ic­ated more than half of your life to paint­ing. Every pic­ture has a his­tory. And every paint­er has a bio­graphy, in which these pic­tures have their place. Does the gaze ripen with time?

K: Cer­tainly — every pic­ture has a story. But only the first paint­ing you every paint has its very own unique story, like a first book etc. Every paint­ing you make after that is depend­ent on that first pic­ture in one way or anoth­er. With every paint­ing or book that fol­lows, an ever increas­ing sequence builds up that is spurred by that ini­tial work of art. For this reas­on, it is always tricky to ana­lyze an indi­vidu­al paint­ing by itself, because it is always the product of pre­ced­ing products. But – to answer your ques­tion – does the gaze ripen, because after a num­ber of years some­thing like exper­i­ence has col­lec­ted. The increas­ing exper­i­ence is – that next to all the ugly things – there is also some­thing won­der­ful about aging. I wouldn’t paint any pic­tures that I've painted in my youth again in that way or even in any sim­il­ar way.

C: None of them?

K: Not a single one of them. The skin isn’t the heart, you know.

Tra­di­tion in Dynam­ic Flux

C: Some of your paint­ings take up pre­vi­ous ones by cit­ing ele­ments or shapes used in those older pieces. Is that a way of depict­ing the bio­graph­ic ten­sion between paint­er and oeuvre?

K: Maybe in the first place it's neces­sary to explain that I sub­scribe to the notion of tra­di­tions in dynam­ic flux. Accord­ing to this idea, one nev­er insists on pos­i­tions that have already been gained, but rather seeks to trans­pose them by intro­du­cing them into new ter­rain. For only in recog­ni­tion of that which already exists, I'm able to con­vin­cingly design realms that I don’t know. If I, how­ever, were to renounce my tra­di­tion, I'd only be drift­ing on unsteady found­a­tions. I'd be forced to leap from one sheet of float­ing ice to the oth­er — leap­ing indis­crim­in­ately from one exper­i­ence to the next. Tra­di­tion in dynam­ic flux also requires some sort of crit­ic­al accept­ance of that which already has been achieved, while at the same time one is driv­ing forth in a quest for the unknown and the uncer­tain. In doing so, I nev­er want to cre­ate some­thing ›new‹, but find nuances of some­thing that is renew­ing. The most beau­ti­ful exper­i­ence in try­ing to do pre­cisely that is recog­niz­ing some sort of devel­op­ment, evol­u­tion, or growth — which is par­tic­u­larly grat­i­fy­ing because not every exper­i­ence is always a development.

C: I'm inter­ested in your affin­ity to that tra­di­tion in dynam­ic flux, how­ever one may want to define the term. I'm think­ing of your paint­ing titled »Reoc­cur­rence of a Farewell« from 2010. What is it exactly in those exper­i­ences that ignites the dynam­ism? In oth­er words, what is the driv­ing force in those exper­i­ences between you as an artist and the world that sets that tra­di­tion into motion?

Past Presence Regained | Oil on canvas | 51 x 63 in | 2010
Past Presence Regained | Oil on canvas | 51 x 63 in | 2010

K: I see. Indeed, there is a sort of recog­ni­tion in under­stand­ing that is neces­sary. But the non-recog­ni­tion of cer­tain exper­i­ences is also oblig­at­ory. For, as I said, not every exper­i­ence brings about devel­op­ment. In this ques­tion, the audi­ence plays a less­er role — simply because over the years, I've noticed which paint­ings requite love and which paint­ings didn’t really do that. But this ques­tion, I must answer inde­pend­ently from those exper­i­ences, because I'm not the accom­plice of the well-mean­ing major­ity. Such a pos­i­tion would be awful and lead into an artist­ic dead-end. The example, you men­tion, »Reoc­cur­rence of a Farewell« is pro­gram­mat­ic, because in it I'm implic­at­ing an earli­er paint­ing (»Manchester« 2009). The only thing that those paint­ings have in com­mon is white top hats.

C: How does this cor­rel­a­tion exactly come about?

K: In »Reoc­cur­rence of a Farewell« I'm attempt­ing at cre­at­ing a flow-effect by let­ting the older paint­ing resur­face. The white top hats from that older paint­ing come to life once again with­in a new con­text. They are made to float towards a new cen­ter of grav­ity and, in the end, are trans­formed by tak­ing part in an entirely new com­pos­i­tion. In this new com­pos­i­tion, the old paint­ing is only some­thing peri­pher­al. And that's tra­di­tion in dynam­ic flux!

C: Sup­pose I claimed that there is a revi­sion­ist rationale in your notion of the tra­di­tion in dynam­ic flux, would you have any objections?

K: Well, if you mean we are not to linger on already achieved pos­i­tions and man­age our accom­plish­ments, but instead we are to expand our cap­ab­il­it­ies and pos­sib­il­it­ies until they are entirely exhausted, then – yes – I'm a revisionist.

The Rela­tion­ship between Paint­er, Oeuvre, and Audience

C: Let's talk about the flux you've men­tioned a little more. I under­stand that you include anamnest­ic ele­ments, memory devices, such as the top hats that serve as links to pre­vi­ous paint­ings. What is the sig­ni­fic­ance of such a strategy in your opinion?

K: I'm happy to dis­cuss cir­cum­stances that led up to a cer­tain paint­ing, but I find it hard to talk about meaning.

C: Why so?

K: Because I essen­tially work like a dent­ist who drills a cav­ity, but then leaves the gap open.

Europe | Oil on canvas | 79 x 87 in | 2009
Europe | Oil on canvas | 79 x 87 in | 2009

C: So, the filling is up to the patient or the beholder?

K: Abso­lutely! Mean­ing always involves inter­pret­a­tions. Let's assume I knew more than the behold­er, and, as the cre­at­or of my paint­ings, ven­tured to ascribe mean­ing to it, I'd be in danger that people would keep too close to my inter­pret­a­tions. That would be ridicu­lous, espe­cially because I couldn’t get at the intel­lec­tu­al and spir­itu­al jew­els of my behold­ers, which only emerge from their own indi­vidu­al engage­ments with the art­work. Cer­tainly, there are gold fillings among them.

C: But isn’t there also a not so small num­ber of artists who think oth­er­wise, who … 

K: … who take their audi­ence by the hand. I don’t want to have any­thing to do with such artists. When I take a few steps back from the can­vas, I ima­gine the most sub­lime per­sons pos­sible look­ing at my work, autonom­ous behold­ers. For this reas­on, I just van­ish behind my work and shut up, after a paint­ing has been completed.

Silent Pause

C: But why not enter into dialogue?

K: Paint­ing doesn’t really oper­ate with lan­guage, but with pic­tures. In that con­text, lan­guage begins where the paint­ings aren’t strong enough, where they aren’t enough in themselves.

C: You've once said that the great art­work by, for instance, Jusepe Rib­era or El Greco put you at a loss of words. And you also claimed that you'd very much like if after look­ing at a paint­ing »silence« would befall the beholder.

K: Yes. That's what I said.

C: Could you com­ment on that?

K: What I meant was a silent pause that res­ults from a con­tem­plat­ing gaze. This, of course, always pre­sup­poses that what is being looked at pos­sesses the traits of great­ness. The object of con­tem­pla­tion exceeds what words may say. Good paint­ing is always in itself suf­fi­cient. That is all the rel­ev­ant inform­a­tion that may spark such a reac­tion is con­tained in it. Wheth­er it be my own life, my peri­od, or the course of his­tory itself – everything is con­tained with­in the paint­ing. My paint­ings, there­fore, are indic­at­ive of my rela­tion­ship to art the­ory or lit­er­at­ure and to almost everything. Not only what I read, but also how I read it, rap­idly or slowly, all this impinges upon my paint­ing. It enters into it like a sort of secret text, a hid­den mes­sage, a symbol.

C: Before we shift from the artist's inner world to his extern­al world, let's say that your paint­ings pos­sess a cer­tain pri­vacy that comes across non­chal­antly, but that is some­how also lur­id. When con­tem­plat­ing your paint­ings by way of vari­ous detours, the out­side world is revealed, a soci­et­al dimen­sion emerges. Now, we could talk a great deal about the sys­tem that you make use of. Unlike many oth­er artists, your paint­ing works well without using super­fi­cial polit­ic­al lay­ers or by invok­ing every extern­al ref­er­ence at hand. But how does the out­side world affect the intim­acy of your atelier?

K: Inside and out­side. Those dimen­sions are com­ple­ment­ary to each oth­er. Without an image of the out­side world, there isn’t an inward image either. To live also means to be moved by oth­er things.

C: How am I to ima­gine this extraction?

K: Like the activ­a­tion of the fil­ter mode. Only in doing so, I remain less depend­ent on what you call the out­side world. I mean I'm not built any dif­fer­ently than most oth­er people. I also have my opin­ions on his­tory. I have a lot of opin­ions. I'd even describe myself as polit­ic­al indi­vidu­al, some­body who is inter­ested in what goes on in polit­ics and the eco­nomy. But as an artist I need to try to keep these opin­ions or views at a distance.

C: Give me an example.

K: Well, not so long ago, I painted a fig­ure form recent his­tory for the first time in my career. It was Pope Bene­dict XVI, and I had great doubts about the pro­ject. You'll prob­ably now ask, “why?” Because the biggest chal­lenge in paint­ing him was to make myself free from all my opin­ions regard­ing his per­son. I didn’t want it to be an exal­ta­tion of his fig­ure or an unjust cri­ti­cism. See, I'm not inter­ested in being the dec­or­at­or or cari­ca­tur­ist of my per­son­al polit­ic­al views. This approach is in part also motived by my own desire not to be polit­ic­ally agit­ated when I look at paint­ings, but also by the desire to not be the col­lab­or­at­or of polit­ic­al agit­a­tion myself. This pos­i­tion is what agrees with my think­ing, because I reject ideo­logy. Instead as a paint­er I'd like to cre­ate a realm of pos­sib­il­it­ies in which there is enough space for the most diverse inter­pret­a­tions. And that's the hard­est thing. Because art pro­jects must be of a sub­lime nature, not just the doc­u­ment of a moment, else they won't sur­vive the test of time.

C: Does that mean paint­ings are nav­ig­ated via form rather than subject?

K: Exactly. For it is pre­cisely the his­tory of art that shows us how little it is shaped by ideas, but by forever new achieve­ments of form.

C: What about mak­ing state­ments through artworks?

K: The paint­ing – as I said – simply imparts inform­a­tion which may or could be for­mu­lated to state­ments by the behold­er. But the state­ment is not made by the paint­er. It's made by the behold­er. Those state­ments change over the course of time and also from behold­er to behold­er. That's why we admire the paint­ings by El Greco or Rib­era, because we are con­stantly chal­lenged by them. But if those paint­ers hadn't found their form then we wouldn’t deal with them today – it's that simple.

C: In 1997 you said in an inter­view that you don’t believe the dual­ity of con­tent and form.

K: Yes — and I think that says it all. Look, there are people out there with incred­ible know­ledge and edu­ca­tion. They seem to have mem­or­ized entire nov­els, but as soon as they are asked to write their own nov­el, they fail. I like what the Amer­ic­an John Dewey once said: »an ounce of exper­i­ence is bet­ter than a ton of the­ory.« Because every exper­i­ence can be veri­fied: it is access­ible and, there­fore, more oper­a­tion­al in our own actions. With respect to paint­ing, this may mean that depict­ing an empty bottle may be more sig­ni­fic­ant for the his­tory of art than an entire pan­or­ama of the Thirty Year's War.

The Daily Routine of the Non-Private

C: May I ask you some­thing per­son­al, some­thing private?

K: I haven’t got any privacy.

C: How so?

K: There is no sep­ar­a­tion between pri­vacy and the pro­fes­sion­al realm in my life. After hav­ing worked as an artist for more than 25 years, my life has been struc­tured by art and this has con­sequences in the most remote areas of my daily life. My life out­wardly isn’t really inter­est­ing either. That's why I don’t need to veil it in secrecy.

C: Okay. That makes my list of dis­cus­sion points a bit easi­er to work through. You live and work with your wife as well as your daugh­ter, Nike in a former indus­tri­al com­plex that has now been con­ver­ted to lofts at the heart of Leipzig. And if there isn’t a pri­vacy sphere, then let me go right on to ask you about your daily routine. How do you begin your day?

K: With some­thing ridicu­lous — with ten to twenty minutes of gymnastics.

C: Why gym­nastics in the morning?

K: In order to be fit and flex­ible for my work.

C: Is paint­ing so exhausting?

K: Yes, it is exhaust­ing — some­times more, some­times less and occa­sion­ally causes per­spir­a­tion. The phys­ic­al exer­cise that I men­tioned is more about endur­ing the hours in the atelier than being buff. And in order to stand, you simply need your knees, which in my case have been dam­aged by long years as an act­ive soc­cer play­er. So, I do gym­nastics in the morn­ing, so that my han­di­cap doesn’t turn into a hazard.

Spir­itu­al­ity, Faith, and Atheism

C: In an essay about your work, I talked about your dramat­iz­a­tion of the turn­ing points and thresholds of human exist­ence. Look­ing at your work, I feel as though the numin­ous forces, the powers unseen are import­ant in it. My ques­tion aims at the reli­gious impetus in your paint­ings, because your paint­ings are not only doc­u­ments of a yearn­ing for the epic or the myth­ic­al, but also express a cer­tain sense of sanc­tity. I know that you used to describe your­self as an athe­ist­ic Epi­cur­ean. But let me ask about your reli­gi­os­ity. What would you say if I claimed to have traced some sort of reli­giously motiv­ated intent in your paintings?

K: If you mean a drive towards desire and spec­u­la­tion, then I'd be okay with what you said.

make - believe | Oil on wood | 23 x 32 in | 2009
make - believe | Oil on wood | 23 x 32 in | 2009

C: But, if you don’t mind, I think that there isn’t a pious ador­a­tion of dir­ect­ives, but rather a quest­ing reli­gi­os­ity. It comes out in the paint­ing involving the pope (»make/​believe«) more than in many oth­er ones.

K: Could be. As I men­tioned, I don’t like com­ment­ing myself on indi­vidu­al paint­ings. With respect to my desires and my quest, I can merely tell you that a world, which we exper­i­ence empir­ic­ally, needs to be trans­por­ted into a world that we will hardly or scarcely recog­nize. I don’t work in doc­u­ment­ary paint­ing. Ulti­mately, every­body senses some sort of spir­itu­al con­nec­tion with the whole of the cos­mos. But that isn’t only some­thing reli­gious, but also some­thing very human. The reli­gions of the world have nev­er really inspired me very much with their simple, though amus­ing stor­ies of cre­ation. Where­as the mys­tic seems to refuse to sub­sume the more broadly felt stor­ies of the whole of the cos­mos into one tale that wouldn’t achieve the poetry inher­ent in that cosmos.

C: The mys­tic exper­i­ences the lim­its of his own spir­it and his own body as a search, an end­less search.

K: And to search for some­thing is pos­sibly more dif­fi­cult, because it's more demand­ing, but it feels more as some­thing that is truly exper­i­enced, than the cer­tainty of the faith­ful who believes to have arrived already.

C: How am I to under­stand the trans­ition from the world-as-it-is to a pos­sible world?

K: How am I to describe a con­di­tion that has empti­ness as its goal?

C: By say­ing empti­ness, you mean a con­di­tion that evokes oth­er­ness or the other?

K: When I com­plete a paint­ing, all the exper­i­ences that had been so present with­in me, con­sciously or uncon­sciously, while work­ing, stay with me and con­tin­ue on. That's why I need to shake off the old paint­ing before I can embark on a new pro­ject. It is neces­sary that I build a dis­tance between myself and old paint­ing – and bid it farewell. Dis­miss­ing the old one and the empti­ness desired therein aims at cre­at­ing sens­it­iv­ity and to make me recept­ive to whatever may be next.

C: Now I under­stand why I've always only seen one paint­ing in this large atelier here. Your work­ing envir­on­ment looks so neat and cleaned up.

K: Well, yeah. 

C: Let me revis­it the issue of the world-as-it-is and pos­sible worlds, because I'm inter­ested in the moment when it tips from one side to the oth­er. What hap­pens in this trans­form­at­ive pro­cess? What hap­pens to you?

K: There is a moment of still­ness and dark­ness, as though death were wait­ing for me.

C: In a con­di­tion of inward immer­sion you envi­sion ima­gin­ary con­stel­la­tions that are usu­ally not there in your every­day exper­i­ence, right?

K: Well, the pic­tures have to come to me. I can’t go to them.

C: What hap­pens exactly, when the pic­tures – as you say – have come to you?

K: It's as though everything has fallen into place, as though the uni­verse and I become one for that moment. It's in incred­ible impulse. But without that impulse of abso­lute joy, without that moment of ecstasy, I wouldn’t be able to paint at all. Every paint­ing is the begin­ning of a dalliance.

C: And how long does the dal­li­ance sus­tain you?

K: The energy has to at least suf­fice until I make the final brush­stroke. If that isn’t the case, then the pic­ture is doomed before it has been com­pleted. Bring­ing a new pic­ture into exist­ence, is really like bring­ing a new child into the world – except that the paint­ing is to be on its own as soon as it's there, while a child is entitled to some nurs­ing. So, in addi­tion to that joy­ful impulse, there is a fur­ther require­ment: good crafts­man­ship. And that's what mat­ters – be it lit­er­at­ure, sculp­tur­ing, or painting.

C: Earli­er you com­pared the artist to a dent­ist. When people talk about your art, do you some­times get a toothache? A when people like that New York­er art his­tor­i­an coined the term »sot­toreal­ism« while dis­cuss­ing your work.

K: No not at all! Even though I'm not sure yet wheth­er the term will define a period…

C: Well, but for now the term is with us. How do you feel when the con­crete work of the paint­er enters in the abstract world of art criticism?

K: As far as the dis­cus­sion of my work is con­cerned, I'm not much of a par­ti­cipant, but rather someone watch­ing. But it is always lovely when paint­ings are able to spark numer­ous inter­pret­a­tions and some­times even neo­lo­gisms. The paint­ings are designed to spark autonom­ous reflec­tion. What do you want me to say? Maybe, at the moment, any neo­lo­gism is bet­ter than any genre descrip­tion or peri­od­iz­a­tion. Maybe it indeed does some­how describe how I work. After all, it's an approach that I've been prac­ti­cing for the past 15 years since the paint­ing titled »The Vis­it­or«. When I con­struct a mod­el and then care­fully con­sider and assess my ini­tial impres­sion by going through that mod­el, I'm less prone to suc­cumb to the labyrinth of sud­den ideas and get lost in it. At the same time, it's more com­fort­able to work with and a won­der­ful exper­i­ence, to nav­ig­ate through mod­els of entire scenes that had only been in your ima­gin­a­tion until you built them up. And by snoop­ing around in those mod­els, I can make cor­rec­tions to the design before I get to the can­vass. And then I feel the blood run through my veins and have the cer­tainty that I'm living.

©2014 Paul-Henri Camp­bell | Aris Kalaizis

Paul-Henri Camp­bell was born in 1982 in Boston (USA). He stud­ied Clas­sic­al Greek and Roman-Cath­ol­ic Theo­logy. He is writes poetry in Ger­man as well as Eng­lish. Since 2013, Camp­bell is co-edi­ti­or of the annu­al antho­logy »Ger­man Poetry Now«. His most recent pub­lic­a­tions include »Space Race« (2012) and »Am Ende der Zei­len« (2013).

© Aris Kalaizis 2023