THE COLOR PLAY OF THE ARTIST KALCHIE
Powerful, Energetic, and Mysterious
Kalchie was born in 1937 as Gisela Clara Schiel in Koblenz on the Rhine and left Germany in 1959 to settle in Basel, her new Swiss home. Kalchie’s childhood was marked by the deprivations of World War II. She was a half-orphan, and making ends meet during the war was not always easy for her and her mother. Evacuated to East Germany, they left everything behind after the war to travel with the last train to West Germany.
Teenage Years at the Theatre
The happiest time was the years between ages 9 and 15 when young Kalchie had found her own home: The City Theatre in Koblenz.
In the world of theatre, dance, and imaginative sets, her soul could unfold. Everyone loved the shy girl who only truly came alive on stage, dancing and acting. At the age of 13, she played the lead role of Christel in ‘Christel and Peter on a Magical Journey.’
A Bourgeois Life
The turmoil of life snatched Kalchie from the security of the theatre and maneuvered her into a bourgeois life, the most beautiful aspect of which were the years with her husband Paul and their two children Astrid and Gabriele. Unfortunately, Paul passed away much too early, and the children went on to live their own lives.
This was the point at which Kalchie, after tentative beginnings in earlier years, fully committed herself to painting—and has done so to this day.
In a transformative process of self-discovery, the artist developed her very own, idiosyncratic approach to work. As a deeply creative person, Kalchie draws solely from herself. However, she does not feel alone in this, but always guided by a greater power. Her paintings allow the viewer to transcend the boundaries of reality, in which colors play a very central role.
But let Kalchie have her own say:
“I feel a great longing for the colors. Long before I begin to paint a picture, I carry colors in me, very rarely forms; these arise, if at all, only during the painting. It is a deep, often urgent need for me to bring the colors in harmony and beauty on the canvas. On the canvas I become aware of their presence, they are there, they flow out of the painting. Sometimes it is as if they grab me. I paint only during the night, forgetting time and space, I am often surprised when already the morning dawns. Afterwards I am completely exhausted and drained. It’s as if all my energy and vitality have gone into the painting.”