[Vulnerability] is everything to me. Art is my way of communication and where I express my deepest pain and concerns… I can probably be judged and taken apart, but I can’t shy away from topics that create deep emotion.Lize Krüger
The following interview forms part of a series where I invite contemporary artists to each reflect on their personal history, meaning, and philosophy, and how those are expressed throughout their creative process.
This week I talk with artist Lize Krüger, whose works channel deep emotional experiences and expressions of loss, mental health, and abuse.
Tell me about your piece, ‘Fluid Dreams’.
In this work, with my focus on mental health, I address the world of psychosis and the confusion of what is real and whatnot. Here I used a combination of two issues: one is the psychosis, and the other is the long-term effect on people who suffered abuse at the hand of the church.
In December 2020, I sketched a drawing from an old vintage anatomical book. Subconsciously the image morphed into the face of my late son. I decided to use this image of him to be the metaphor in many of my works. In my work, he sometimes represents the global turmoil our world is going through, my own struggles after his passing, and our collective mental health and my effort to its destigmatisation. The way I portray him in these pictures is how he looked when the emergency personnel took him from me in 2008.
Are you guided by any essential philosophy in your creative expression?
Yes, I definitely am. My take on life and our experiences is to face it head-on.
We live in a cruel world, and despite that, I refuse to be limited by the shame of any emotion and other people’s judgment. I am driven by a need to destigmatise all aspects of mental health and suicide and to create compassion for the global refugee crisis. I am always amazed by how reluctant people are to engage when they are faced with art or images communicating deep emotions.
Feeling lost, stuck and without meaning are experiences we all face as human beings. Why do you think that is? How do you approach those feelings in your work?
Our current situation is precarious, to say the least. At the beginning of the pandemic, I felt at ease for the first time in 12 years. As a self-isolating bereaved parent, I tried to cope by putting up a mask of normality while I felt as if I was losing my mind. Suddenly the whole world caught up with me – everyone had to isolate and wear masks. However, two years later, the fact that we are still confronted with uncertainty and instability creates uncomfortable helplessness in me. My work “A WORLD IN TURMOIL I” tries to illustrate this aspect of our existence.
Do you think it’s possible to objectively state that a piece or genre of art is more artistically valid than another?
Personally, I will not easily make a statement like that. All expression is valid, even if I don’t necessarily understand it. There are so many things to consider the artist, his/her as an individual, their background, culture, medium, context, etc.
What does it mean to you to be vulnerable as an artist?
That is everything to me. Art is my way of communication and where I express my deepest pain and concerns. I use very personal events to illustrate my compassion towards injustice and the marginalised in society. I can probably be judged and taken apart, but I can’t shy away from topics that create deep emotion.
If there were an artwork that depicted your current experience of the world, what might it look like?
“HANGING BY A THREAD I”, can look like a very pleasing work at first glance, but it addresses quite a few of my concerns simultaneously – our inability to protect the vulnerable amongst us, the fragility of Life and our Planet, and the shattering of children’s dreams and illusions.