"I paint soul."
Artist Eva Kaiser in conversation
The Salzburg painter Eva Kaiser has been exhibiting at home and abroad for years, since 2006 at Art Gallery 91 in Kaigasse. She says of herself that she likes people, but not people, and by that she means the superficiality of our society. She also considers fashion to be something negative because it pretends too much and restricts individuality. In conversation, she told us more about her ideas of art and painting.
Ms Kaiser, you are a trained textile designer and have taught yourself to paint.
Yes, I already had 24 hours of drawing a week at textile school. The basis was always there, even my drawing teacher in primary school said, "you'll be an artist one day". It's all about creativity, versatility and the detail itself. And if you have the talent, why not continue to practise it. At some point, you have to realise for yourself: how much creativity is inside you? If you are constantly coming up with something new and don't know where to start, then I think that's a good way to go.
You were initially impressed by the Impressionists, but you paint in the Expressionist style yourself? How did this change of style come about?
Yes, I am a total expressionist. It's just a development. I think all the really great artists, like Picasso, have gone through quite a change of style. Basically, everyone has to start with realism at some point. At some point, everyone then develops individually and that just happens in the process of creating! Painting is actually a craft that anyone can learn! What one makes of it is something else again. A talent - the substance - has to be there, of course.
What impact did the master class with Hermann Nitsch have on your artistic work?
Hermann Nitsch is probably one of the best teachers. People think he just pours paint on the canvas. But that's not the case. He's really mystical, highly interesting and as a professor he's terrific, because he can flip open the personality like that. In no time at all he sees what someone has or doesn't have.
Did that take you to a new level?
Not one level, but simply out of me. You have to find your own style. Mental expressionism, that's my personal style. I still paint figuratively, but very dissolved. It's abstract expressionism, but the representation should still be there in any case.
What do you mean when you say: I don't want to paint beautiful pictures, but good ones.
There has to be a story behind each picture and a certain philosophy. So just depicting something, "painting off" is simply not enough for me. I can't express enough what the core of the matter is. Quite banally explained, a portrait is nothing if the soul is not inside the portrait. It's all about expression! Or an erotic picture, for example, that should radiate eroticism and not just bare nudity, which no one is interested in anymore.
Are your images related to the state of mind you are in at the moment?
No, that has nothing to do with it. I give myself a theme. It doesn't always have to be critical, but society influences me. My next exhibition, for example, is about passion itself. The zeitgeist at the moment is relatively lukewarm; people imitate everything that America shows us. So socially critical themes are of course a great inspiration.
They also paint commissioned works, such as for the Salzburg Festival.
Of course, you have to tune into the theme. At the Festival, I was able to choose the theme, which was very interesting. With the private commissions, there are specifications, such as a certain colour or theme. That is of course a restriction, but sometimes also a challenge, and it pays well. Thank God I don't have to make a living from it though, that would be terrible. I can make a better living from my wild art than from commissioned work.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on the new exhibition with the theme "Passion - Leidenschaft". I'm busy with files at the moment. It's a small exhibition that starts in July at the Deutschvilla in Strobl.
What are your wishes for the future?
I want to be able to paint forever! That's all I need. Painting has always been a calling and a matter of course for me.
Thank you very much for the interview!