Alexander Dubovik was born in Kyiv in 1931 in the family of Mikhailo Dubovik, a renowned popular poet of that time. In 1941 Mikhailo Dubovik was arrested on charges of taking part in nationalistically inspired pro-Ukrainian associations and engaging in a “counter-revolutionary” written exchange. The same year he was killed. Alexander Dubovik’s life was affected by his father being labelled a Ukrainian bourgeois nationalist, however, he managed to get a good education and following graduation his career quickly took off.
He graduated from the Kyiv State Art Institute in 1957 (now the National Academy of Fine Art and Architecture). Teachers majoring in S. Grigoriev, G. Titov and M. Khmelko and then the Academy of Arts of the USSR (1965) as a graduate student. He has been a member of the National Union of Artists of Ukraine since 1958. Dubovik principally achieved recognition in the 1960s-1980s with avant-garde works. He comes from a generation of neo-avant-garde artists who produced and developed revolutionary ideas despite having to work under totalitarian regime.
Dubovik was a renegade artist of Soviet state-sanctioned art. He did not find the existing tradition of realistic expression sufficient for his art. So he took an alternative route and developed his own tradition he termed “suggestive realism”.
In the 1950s Dubovik worked in a realistic manner. He created friends’ portraits, landscapes, and a series of self-portraits. In 1958 he entered the National Union of Artists of the USSR and became an active participant in its public activities.
In 1962 Alexander Dubovik worked to develop his personal system of symbolic signs and a new allegorical and metaphysical languages. It will become his new dictionary of terms. Dubovik completely does away with realistic painting and worked with simple geometric shapes and symbols like circles, squares and lines. Dubovik prefers a square as his canvas format. The square has ancient symbolic history, but also “it holds vast amounts of steady and serene energy. When the balance is disturbed, the energy is unleashed in a dramatic event. The square also easily absorbs changes in composition and at the same time keeps its integrity” – artist explains. Dubovik’s system of symbols became his main achievement, his invention. Each symbol has its unique meaning: a bouquet refers to another reality, an entryway into another world, the singularity of this world; a Triumpher represents victory over reality; a horse is a symbol of a free spirit.
To describe the multi-layered reality and changing horizons, prevalent in his painting, Dubovik introduced the analogy of the palimpsest. Artist examines this notion in a treatise where he details his ideas and supports his theoretical discoveries with modern and ancient philosophy and art theory. Dubovik followed his own rules. He found the strength not to let the system break him down like some of his fellow artists, who faithfully served the establishment. This coincides with the end of the Thaw, the power system has changed, the general outlook on art also changed, and society itself was transitioning. After the Thaw came a period of Stagnation. Following this for twenty years well up till the late 1980’s Dubovik’s artwork disappears from the public eye.
Dubovik’s art echoes his intellectual journey. He integrates new ideas he borrowed from literature and philosophy into his artwork, sketchbooks, and academic treatises.Starting from the late 1970’s Dubovik worked to develop monumental art projects for plants, schools and public establishments. His wife Irina was always there to help him. Today these monumental art projects can be viewed in cities located in Ukraine, Karelia and France. His monumental art was also based on allegories and abstract notions. Non-figurative expression or abstract art which was frowned within the tradition of easel painting was duly implemented in large-scale monumental art – this was a paradox of Soviet art that many artists in the 1970s took advantage of.
Since 1980th Alexander Dubovik became one of the Ukrainian artists who got the possibility to travel abroad and show his art to the whole world. In 1988 the artist held his personal exhibition at the exhibition hall of the Artists’ Union of the USSR and the next year at the exhibition hall of the Artists’ Union of the USSR and the Weiner Gallery in Munich. Since 1990 the artist annually held his personal exhibitions in museums, exhibition halls and galleries in Ukraine as well as abroad. In the middle of the decade, he created two monumental works – stained glass windows in the New Apostolic Church in Kyiv (1994-1995) and wall paintings in the chapel of Notre Dame des Anges in the commune of Berre-Les-Alpes in the surroundings of Nice (1996). Alexander Dubovik wrote philosophical and theoretical works in which he vividly and often paradoxically expressed his views on art. Among his programmatic texts, one should name My Catechism, Palimpsests and The Ladder to the Empty Skies. Today Dubovik is truly admired as one of the pillars of Ukrainian art of the late 20th century. He is a representative of the Sixties art movement and his art is well beyond the visual realm, based on mathematical, philosophical and complex system processes.
The artist’s works are stored in the National Art Museum of Ukraine, National Museum “Kyiv Picture Gallery”, Khmelnytsky and Zaporizhia Art Museums, State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), Russian Museum (St. Petersburg, Russia), Wurt Museum (Erstein, Germany), Museum of Contemporary Art (Tehran, Iran), Ukrainian National Museum (Chicago, USA), Zimmerly Art Museum (New Jersey, USA) and many private collections in Ukraine and abroad. Oleksandr Dubovik’s works were also included in the collection of Gradobank, which became part of the National Art Museum of Ukraine fund.
- Jean-Claude Marcade, Kateryna Tsyhykalo. Alexander Dubovik. The Signs. Osnovy Publishing. Kyiv 2021
- Олександр Дубовик. Сонм Снов. Київ. 2021 / Alexander Dubovik. Sonm Snov. Kyiv. 2021
- Альбом №25. Факсимільне видання. Stedley Art Foundation. Київ. 2019 / Album 25. Facsimile. Stedley Art Foundation. Kyiv. 2019
- Альбом №26. Факсимільне видання. Stedley Art Foundation. Київ. 2021 / Album 26. Facsimile. Stedley Art Foundation. Kyiv. 2021
- Олександр Дубовик. Слова. Том 4. Софія. Київ. 2021 / Alexander Dubovik. Slova. Volume 4. Sofiya. Kyiv. 2021
- Олександр Дубовик. Слова. Том 3. Софія. Київ. 2020 / Alexander Dubovik. Slova. Volume 3. Sofiya. Kyiv. 2020
- Календарь Озарений. Александр Дубовик. Stedley Art Foundation. Киев: 2017 / Afflatus Calendar. Alexander Dubovik. Stedley Art Foundation. Kyiv: 2017.
- Лабиринт значений. Александр Дубовик. Stedley Art Foundation. Kyiv: 2016 / Labyrinth of meanings. Alexander Dubovik. Stedley Art Foundation. Kyiv: 2016
- Олександр Дубовик. Слова. Том 2. Софія. Київ. 2014 / Alexander Dubovik. Slova. Volume 2. Sofiya. Kyiv. 2014
- 9 гуашей. Александр Дубовик. Stedley Art Foundation. Kyiv: 2014 / 9 Gouaches. Alexander Dubovik. Stedley Art Foundation. Kyiv: 2014
- Олександр Дубовик. Слова. Том 1. Софія. Київ. 2012 / Alexander Dubovik. Slova. Volume 1. Sofiya. Kyiv. 2012
- Олександр Дубовик. Монографія. Софія. Київ. 2005, 232 c. / Alexander Dubovik. Monograph. Sofiya. Kyiv. 2005, 232 p.
- Шапіро Е. Емоції і чистий разум українского постмодерніста О. Дубовика. “Час” №5-9, 2004 / Shapiro E. Emotions and Clear Mind of the Ukrainian Postmodernist A. Dubovik. “Chas”, № №5-9, 2004
- Jill Goodman. “Big ARTS exhibit illustrate political freedoms”. Captiva Current. Feb. 6 1998. Florida USA.
- France-Ukraine… Itineraire Culturel at Artistique. Exhibition catalogue. Paris:1995.
- Alexander Dubovik a Berre-les-Alpes. “Nice-Matin”, Nice: Sept. 1994. France.
- Макаров А. Повернення авангарду. “Сучасність”. Київ: 1993. №2 / Makarov A. Return of Avant-garde. “Suchasnist”. Kyiv: 1993. №2.
- Скляренко Г. Національний мадернізм О.Дубовика. “Київ”, Київ: 1992. №6 / Sklyarenko G. NationalModernismog Alexander Dubovik. “Kyiv”, Kyiv: 1992. №6.
- Дубовик О. Палімпсести. “Хроніка”. Київ: 1992. №2 / Dubovik A. The Palimpsests. “Chronics”. 1992, №2.
- Кулик І. Світ кольорових метафор. “Київська правда”. Київ: 1991, №2 / Kulyk I. The world of colour metaphors. “Kyivska Pravda”, Kyiv: 1991, №2
- Українське MaлARTство (1960-1980-ті). Каталог виставки, 1990. Київ, Україна; Оденсе, Данія / Ukrainian MalyARTstvo (1960s-1980s). Exhibition catalogue. Kyiv, Ukraine; Odense, Denmark.
- Война В. Знаки й символи. “Новое время”. Москва: 1989. №27 / Voyna V. Signs and Symbols. “Novoe Vremya”. Moscow: 1989. №27.
- Александр Дубовик. Каталог выставки А.М. Дубовика. Живопись, графика, монументально-декоративное искусство / сост. Ф.А.Чорбе // Киев: Союз художников Украины, 1988 / Alexander Dubovik. Exhibition catalogue. Paintings, graphics, monumental art / comp. F. Chobre // Kyiv: National Union of Artists of Ukraine, 1988.
Stedley Art Foundation presents unique albums of Alexander Dubovik that preserve more than forty years of the artist’s creative life. The search for his sign began not on canvases, but in notes and sketches, which eventually took shape in similar albums.
The artist began his first album in the mid-1960s, when the freedom of creative expression was strictly regulated, and all opportunities were closed for any dissent and departure from the single principle of social realism for all. Since the mid-1960s, more than fifty albums have been created, filled with thoughts, ideas, visual stories. The Stedley Art Foundation has published facsimiles of several of the albums.
Alexander Dubovik, as a true artist of the modernist era, is inspired by the themes of the future and the technological development of our civilization. In his manifesto “White Bouquet”, written in 2019, he reflects on singularity and art and how they are connected to his idea of “White Bouquet”:
“The world of the manifests of the ХХ and ХХІ centuries arose from and defined the new structural changes in society, technology, and world perception. But these changes imperceptibly and fundamentally change in the course of time. And so, behind the original ideas of “freshness” and “new ways,” there always hid a different meaning.
This manifesto is not an exception. The discovery of new physical and mental forces under the pressure of the fundamental “revelations” of physics and, first of all, “the cosmic” factor imposes on man new living conditions and achievements never before encountered in the history of humanity. Ideas, the same as nearly all processes of real, material and spiritual life have a different system of cognition than the common one, an accepted ”linear” logic of humanity in the paradigm of the interconnectivity of everything in the concept of unity. Instead of the relatively short chains of causes and effects to calculate and foresee, comes Heisenberg’s “uncertainty,” which permits many unknown and ungraspable quantities in the formula of effects. These “corpuscles,” “photons” of causes travel along unknown trajectories with varying velocities and enter an indeterminable and incalculable time. This is called “quantum” logic. Naturally, it is relatively far away removed from the physical processes; it is their metaphorical, “humanitarian” interpretation. But in certain sense, the principle here is the same as when something insignificant or a barely noticeable event has a decisive meaning. In such a case, these events take on a symbolic form and once again, as in the past, raise the importance and significance of the symbol as the binding element “of reality, which disintegrates and scatters,” bringing into the open the roots of the eternal idea of “Unity” in the “monads” of Leibniz and “fractals” of Mandelbrot. Ideas are rhizomes which live somewhere in invisible “subterranean” spaces.
Once again, in the “quantal” sense.
“Quantal thinking” is the source of the parable about the human lie, it is an art of thought, of internalization, of overcoming the restless, aggressive screaming and penetration into the world of the mystic poetic force. This way a dialogue is created which has defensive values and unites the chief element in the human continuum: reason and intuition, cognition and mystery.
“White Bouquet” is the symbol of the human dimension.
We are living in a concentration of crises: political, economic, cultural and scientific, which are not uncommon in the history of humanity. From the three epochs that were defined back in the XII century by Joachim Florsky: achievement, affirmation and revelation, we are living during the age of Aquarius, in the period of the Rebirth of Spirituality. The two big signs of the past – Cross and Dao, – that did the important work as the “double helix” of the Human Spirit, have lost much of their energy in the unavoidable flow of entropy.
And for the first time in many centuries, humanity is capable of sensing the changes in the paradigms of the awareness of its place in the world which are happening so fast today. The evolution of humanity and of the biosphere in the middle of the last and the beginning of the current centuries suddenly has taken off in the direction of infinity. And the point where this curve branches off is called a singularity. The reason for this is that today’s rules and laws of development have stopped working and must change cardinally, and the traditional way of forecasting with the help of extrapolation in the zone of singularity doesn’t work anymore, and so a cardinal break must take place.
Singularity is the zone of the unification of crises: of energy resources, ecology, of space and ideology, and today it is obvious that the model of the consumer society has exhausted itself. In addition, we are faced with the oncoming of a global crisis in science, first in the alarming reduction of scientific work positions and a gradual increase in the cost of experiments connected with the building of colliders, telescopes, and so on.
Technological singularity rapidly brings to us the age of “Em,” which comes from the word “emulation,” when computers reach the limits of the human mind.
In the human neocortex, the part of the brain that controls all important nerve functions, there are approximately 300 million modules designed for distinguishing between the patterns of our thinking and behaviour. It is they that convert simple patterns into complex conceptions that help us to understand the world. According to the forecasts, the age of “Em” will arrive during the next 50—100 years. An optimistic forecast is that by 2029 Artificial Intelligence (AI) will pass the Turing test, in other words, will resemble a human being in answering questions and will join our neocortex with the internet cloud.
And even now billions of dollar foundations are created for the purpose of investing in singularity, and it is being forecast that in 30 years the population of ”intelligent” robots will reach 10 billion, that is, there will be more of them than people.
Therefore, what is needed is a new concept of growth, and as one of its elements a new universal sign which defines the new state of the Human Spirit.
“White Bouquet” is new cryptography as a form of hallucination, as a medium, as the truth.
It is the highest-order assertion, which has no antithesis
It is a sign devoid of political, national, economic, racial, and religious burdens.
It is a sign of man’s presence on earth. It is the “Higgs Boson” of human culture. And if in yesterday’s world of the “Kopernikan” man, which embodied the energy of geographic discoveries and a steep rise of civilization and of the consumer society, the main impulse lay in the growth and consumption of resources and all sorts of “benefits,” our time needs a rethinking, and if you please, meditation. After all, thousands of exoplanets similar to Earth and the idea of infinity of Universes tell us that we are not an exception in the world and that the Universe, obviously, has a Code for the mind and for the “Information Field.”
And if in the past earthlings’ striving was centrifugal, directed toward the cosmos as the home of the future, in the age of singularity the direction has changed to the opposite, centripetal.
We must know who we are as a species and how we are to live on
We look at the Earth from above, like God, and it will cardinally change our civilization.
”White Bouquet” is a sign of Singularity!
“White Bouquet” is the experience of interacting with the world packaged in a plain minimalistic form, but it is indissolubly tied to the traditional foundations of man’s understanding of the Universe. It is a union of the circle and the square of the sky and the earth in new integrity of the new understanding of Dao.
“White Bouquet” is the highest pulsation of philosophy and poetry. The pulse of philosophy is something that exists, in Heidegger’s terms, “that which is,” and the definition of being is “presence.” The pulse of poetry is the principle of haiku—errant islands of meaning that flow over into various layers of time and state. It is a unification, a congruence of logic and intuition.
“White Bouquet” is a symbol of today’s civilization during its time of transition into a new paradigm.
“White Bouquet” is a symbol of cyberspace.
“White Bouquet” is a symbol of Spirituality and of timeless values.
It is a symbol of harmony, concentrated luminosity, humanism and freedom of the spirit.
It is a symbol of joy and tranquillity.
It is a symbol of peace.
It is a symbol of the Great “Ukrainian Idea.”
In this section, you can see works from the estate of Alexander Dubovik, which he trusted to the Stedley Art Foundation. The purpose of the fund is to preserve, research and popularize the artist’s heritage.