Viewing the »Wunderbar« as Reality
The large-scale painting »Die Stunde der Entweltlichung« (2012) cites a word used by Pope Benedict XVI in his famous lecture given in Freiburg when he visited Germany in 2011. The German word »Entweltlichung« means something like de-secularize or de-worldfulness. Its usage caused an outcry, because it was understood as a message to the church and its representatives to refrain from secular structures and options and instead to turn towards more spiritual matters. According to that reading of the whole issue, it was about an opposition of secular and sacred realms, between the spiritual life of church and the secular life in the world.
Drawing on Klee's title »Vorführung eines Wunders«, we might also use the title for this painting. Aris Kalaizis depicts a bar room scene somewhere in the red light milieu that bears a signifying sequence neon letters in cerulean blue: »Wunderbar«. This reference is indeed ambiguous. The »Wunder« or miracle, as the proverb goes, is faith's dearest child. And the bar, on the other hand, is the quintessence of secular life: alcohol, debauchery, leisure time, self-centeredness, the world's vanity. The bar is, of course, also a place of yearning, a space beyond or outside everyday ordinary life, and without its commitments.
Two men are standing at the bar. The hour is probably an early hour in the morning. The day is breaking. The bartender wearing a white shirt has already cleaned off the surface of the bar. The morning newspaper is already lying on its top. Is there the silhouette of a cleric on the front page of that newspaper? A first or final glass of water has been poured for one of the guests. Opposite
the bartender there is the figure of a strange or miraculous guest, with long hair under his hat. He somehow seems to be removed from the period implied in the picture. He is wearing historical garments. His right hand is leaning on the bar, his left hand his pressing the head down onto the bar. Above him, a woman's body is floating without something that the painted wanted to be cut away – her head.