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Lize Krüger was born and educated in South Africa, where she obtained a BA degree in Fine Art. She relocated to the UK in 2014.

Lize has the ability to evoke emotion with every line or brushstroke. Her artwork invites the spectator to realize that something fragile can, in truth, hold so much power.

Loss, mental health, and abuse are at the forefront of Lize’s artwork. She manages to transform delicate subjects into the divine. Her work reminds us that vulnerability should be embraced and cherished.  

And so, the work you behold becomes a symbol of change, growth, and renewal.

Lize is mentally and emotionally constantly involved with the state of the human race and -condition.

She enjoys working with some of her previous works and prints. By combining and manipulating them, placing them in different contexts, she tends to achieve surprisingly satisfying results. This process leads to an innovative way to achieve even more thought-provoking messages. By working like this, she founds a new way to address her need to portrait layered realities in one work – nothing is ever what it seems to be…

Her art is mostly focused on Life, Death, Grief, and Hope. Subject matters that people tend to avoid.

She sometimes has to dig deep into her own psyche, there where she buried pain, destruction, shock, disbelief, and numbness as a reaction to what Life threw at her as a human being. Lize’s art gives her the key to access those places of grief so that she could manage to find a new way to function in this world.

By giving structure, adding and then subtracting or destroying some of the elements in her work, she usually finds the meaning she wants to convey.

Life is complex and even more so human nature, experience, and emotions. Art gives her the way to communicate and convey metaphors and symbols in order to put devastating emotions on paper. By doing that Lize aspires to challenge her audience to face their own inner world, confront their fears, and embrace Life.

She also finds beauty in the sculptural structure that keeps living beings together and holds it up – as the skeleton. Flowers, birds, skulls, bones, organs, and lace are all elements that will constantly appear in her work.

1984 – BA Fine Arts, NW University, South Africa1987 – Receive Gregoire Boonzaaier Merit  Award
1987 – Group exhibition, TOTAL Gallery, JHB, SA
1987 – New Signature Group Exhibition
1988 – Participate in Volkskas Atelier  Competition, Pretoria, SA
1989 – Work utilised in Volkskas Calender
1989 – First Solo Exhibition, Vanderbijlpark, SA
1989 – Second Solo Exhibition, Pretoria Art  Society, SA
1990-2005 – Numerous Group Exhibitions

                 – Various Solo Exhibitions

 2007 – Eighth Solo Exhibition, DEVOLUTION, UPSTAIRS@BAMBOO, Melville, JHB, SA
2011 – Ninth Solo Exhibition, FRAGMENTATION, UPSTAIRS@BAMBOO, Melville, JHB, SA
2013 – 2014 – Art Therapy Classes at UITKOMS, Centre for Rape Victims, JHB, SA

 2018 – Commission, IN THEIR NAME, Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall, UK

 COLLECTIONS
-SASOL Art Collection – Hong Kong
-VESCO Art Collection, Vanderbijlpark, SA
-RAND MERCHANT BANK, JHB, SA
-SASOL SHUMAM, Germany
-Various Private Collections in SA, Canada and UK

Hi Lize! Tell us a bit about yourself. When did you begin doing art and how did you get started?

Lize: I finished my BA Fine Art degree in the early 1980s. While I raised my children, I continued with my painting career and taught art classes for adults and children.

FLESH AND BONES II

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Lize:  I was, and still is passionate about animals, so to me it was a given that I would become a vet. But I quickly realized that Science and Maths were not my forté!

GIVE THE ROSES IN TIME

What artists of the past or present have inspired you?

Lize:  Francis Bacon will always be one of my favorite artists. Then there are two South African artists that I’ve admired since being a student. William Kentridge and Penny Siopis. I am also a huge admirer of Ai Weiwei, his concepts, and outspokenness.

PÏETA

What motivates you as an artist? Is it curiosity, the search for beauty, or meaning?

Lize: Yes, I’m always curious about ’man’ and his/ her thought processes. I prefer to delve deep into the psyche of humans, but despite that, always try to seek and find meaning and beauty in the most painful situations and darkest nights of the soul.

Current issues of the day, to address injustice, creating awareness about certain aspects of life, for instance, mental health, abuse, fear, angst. In other words, the human condition, regardless of age, race, culture, or religion.

CAGES, POLICIES AND ABANDONED CHILDREN

Your art represents as you say “Subject matters that people tend to avoid”. Is there a message you are trying to give with each piece?

Lize: Due to personal experience of devastating loss and heartache, I was confronted with the fear and denial of society regarding Death. People don’t want to talk about it and heaven forbid, not see it as a subject matter in art. I lost my only son 12 years ago and was forced to face Death and what it beholds. My biggest fear in Life was to ever lose a child. My reading material became all about Life and Death. The Darkness that became my constant companion was a painful reality from which there was no escape. In order to survive this new existence, my son became an active part of my daily life, thoughts, and dreams. And in that process, I found magical moments and an awareness of other dimensions. I’ve embraced that gift that he offered me and made it my business to always find the beauty in our brokenness. I will not falter or shy away from it. It is part of our
human experience here on this planet. And ironically Death is the only thing about Life that we can be certain of. Let’s talk about it.

FADING HOPE

Your art is very unique. What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?

Lize:  My biggest challenge is to stay authentic in my visual commentary. Issues like the Refugee Crisis, Mental Health, Suicide, Religious Indoctrination, Child Abuse etc, are all aspects that I battle to accept. I feel a deep need to address these issues in my art. If I can put myself in the shoes of others, because I know what loss
and grief mean, I know it is something that I have to put out there. And keep on doing it. Give it an image, make it concrete. Confront my viewer, without scaring him/her away. It is usually seen as depressing topics or themes by the general public. To me, it is part of Life. I aim to turn this unspeakable and unapproachable topic into Life-and Love-affirming works.

I AM A REFUGEE

What are some of the tools you use to create a distinct style of artwork?

Lize: I am predominantly a painter. However, after my son’s passing, I slowly developed a paralyzing fear of my easel and canvas. As much as I love the smell of oils and turps, so much worse is the power of the memories it evokes. I’ll get there again, I know. So at this stage in my career, I use my Ipad en pencil and create digital collages to create the kind of works and messages I want to convey.

STAGES OF DISINTEGRATION IV

How has your style changed or evolved over the years?

Lize: My work evolved from being merely pleasing to more conceptual. I tend to work more three dimensional with different layers stacked upon each other. In order to say a lot in one piece, I worked on plexiglass and canvas. It became a very expensive way of executing my work, and this is why the digital method works so well for me at this stage.

FLESH AND BONES IV

What are some of the stories behind your work?

Lize: As I’ve mentioned before, my main themes are about the human condition. But because we cannot separate ourselves from our environment and other sentient beings, I usually look for parallels in our co-existence with nature and search for the lessons and the wisdom we can find there. I find it very satisfying to use animal symbolism to confirm the synergy between different worlds.

WHEN IT IS TOO LATE

What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?

Lize:  My Facebook Page and Instagram account are quite active.

Instagram
Facebook
Website

WILL IT SURVIVE

What are you currently working on?

Lize:  I work on the psychological effect that Covid19 brought to us. I am a grandmother living in the UK, with grandchildren and children in New Zealand and South Africa. The feeling of desperation and frustration of not being able to see them made me even more aware of the global refugee crisis. I found that the outpouring of my personal yearning became the cries of parents and children in these devastating cruel situations. It keeps me awake at night. I have a roof over my head, food on the table and these people are shunned, abused, and tormented. If I can create just a little awareness of what they are going through, I will keep on doing it.

IMAGINED FREEDOM

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Lize: I am taking it day by day now. Whatever arises on a collective basis, will be there for me to feel, experience, comment on, research, and translate it into art.

Thank you!

6 Replies to “Meet Lize Krüger – artist from South Africa”

  1. Lize’s art expresses what even the most eloquent linguist battles to convey. Her work reaches the dark recesses of my own sorrow, my joy, my fear, my dreams. And yes, by embracing that vulnerability, I feel less alone.

    1. Dear Zelda – I am humbled by your reply and interpretation of my work. That is my aim and motivation with my work. And especially because I am not able to put most of these emotions into words. Thank you for this confirmation.

  2. I have been a close friend of Lize’s and fellow artist for many years. I witnessed her state of numbness, but also witnessed her fresh embrace of new media! I respect the fact that she overcame a fear for what has caused her near creative block (loss, trauma and a deep sense of longing) but then finding salvation in exactly those dark areas embracing new media!

    For Lize, her art is a powerful tool for healing, (re)membering, preserving memories and even keeping a physicality of a departed loved one alive!

    I have been honoured to have been a part of this journey!

    1. Dear Christiaan – you have witnessed the journey and have been a HUGE instrument in getting my out of my frozen state. I will be forever grateful to you for that. Apart from being a constant inspiration, you are also a true friend. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. At the opening of Lize’s art exhibition at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Lize preferred not to say much, she got away by saying ‘my art speaks for me’. And that is absolutely true. The delicacy of lace, the horror of pain, the poignancy of the womb, the sadness of the Piéta – study each work and you’ll hear her voice loud and clear.

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