Alexey Kallima was born in Grozny in 1969. He studied at the department of painting of the Krasnodar Art College. Participant of the Venice Biennale (1995, 2009), the Moscow Biennale (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011), and the European Biennale Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg (2014). Laureate of the "Innovation" award in 2005 in the nomination "Best visual artwork". Kallima's works were exhibited in the Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), the Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), the Louvre (Paris, France), as well as in a number of museums and galleries of Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Poland, the USA, France, the Czech Republic, etc.
Having an academic education based on the school of socialist realism, in the early 2000s Kallima started experimenting with other media. In Moscow, he started cooperating with the Radek Group and became the curator of the "France" gallery: in the framework of these projects, he gave performances, organised promotions and happenings, created installations and ready-mades. Gradually, by mid-2000s, he returned to painting. In 2004-2010, Kallima continued to explore the topic of Chechnya that worried him a lot that time: both the aspect of a war (military theme) and the social aspect (stereotyped perception of nationality in the context of the Russian culture), as well as the fantasy theme – for example, the series called "Women's National Team of Chechnya in Skydiving" (2008-2010). These works are almost monochrome, mostly made with sanguine and charcoal, on canvas, paper, and walls. Sometimes the artist paints with oil or acryl in the same manner. Kallima chooses complex perspectives, and his compositions look like frozen frames from films.
Simultaneously in 2002-2007, Kallima created a series of large-scale works with invisible ink that glowed in the UV-light. In the dark, all the works had a medium blue tincture with fluorescent flickering of the strokes. Main characters were the same – the Chechens. The plots varied from household sketches to a night highway or a football match. For such ten-meter canvas called "Terek-Chelsea" (2005), the artist received the "Innovation" award in 2005.
Throughout his work, Kallima creates abstract artworks from time to time. That was where he first introduced intense colours in 2006. At the core of these abstractions there are various elements: vague spots ("Diffusion" series, 2006), circles ("Whirls", 2006), ornaments ("Synchronized groups", 2009) dots ("Chaos", 2014) and so on.
Since 2010, the themes of the paintings have been changing – the artist has begun creating romanticized images of everyday life: interiors, buildings, windows, urban views, public transport, roads with cars, vending kiosks and so on. In 2012, the artist started to use bright colours in his paintings. Kallima began to work more with colour using oil and watercolour. The artist's favourite graphic form is manifested in a new way – semi-abstraction. It is not created using figures ("Wet asphalt", 2005), but using a combination of pure colours: when we look at a painting as a whole, we can see specific images, but after long scrutiny they fall apart into hypothetical elements and spots ("All for Sale" series, 2012; "Dancing Ghosts" series, 2017). These works resemble the principles of the French art group of the "Nabis” from late XIX - early XX century with their pure colours, decorativeness and flatness of forms.
Kallima is in constant search: from acute social themes to semi-abstractions, from almost monochrome range of colours to a broad palette. He does not dwell on any recognizable style, but always boldly moves on. All his works are united by a balance of colour, composition and feelings.