Alexander Dubovik. The Standoff…
June 8 - October 2
Stedley Art Foundation together with Dubovik family and East Slovak Museum in Kosice present the exhibition of Alexander Dubovik: Standoff…
Alexander Dubovik is a key representative of the generation of neo-avant-garde artists who generated innovative ideas that went against the grain of the all-pervasive totalitarian regime. In their works, the artists did not conform to the official art policy, which at the time was the socialist realism. It was a perilous time when any deviation from the official line and any ideas that seemed subversive were severely punished. But Alexander Dubovik valiantly stood against the regime, his courage helped him stay true to himself and his art. Instead of churning by the dozen scenes from the happy Soviet life, the artist has ceaselessly worked on developing his own unique system of symbols and signs. Jean-Claude Marcadé, a French researcher of avant-garde and a champion of Dubovik’s art once said: “Facing the socialist realism then dominating in the 1950’s and 1960’s and not brooking any “formalistic” deviation, Dubovik builds, in total creative freedom, a world of unprecedented richness.”
Alexander was born in 1931 in Kyiv, where he lives and works till the present days. Dubovik’s art cannot be pigeonholed into a particular definition of standardised artistic styles and movements. Marcadé has defined his art as “a new modernity.” He calls Dubovik “an heir” to a whole series of avant-gardist movements since the start of the 20th century where the concept of abstraction is king, pictorial logic, obsession with colour and its physical illusions are key. In Dubovik’s art free lines are dominant and the legacy of the surrealists is immediately apparent.
The artist creates in the tradition of abstract and non-figurative art of the 20th century and enters the new millennium in dialogue between the non-objective and objective, abstract and figurative, real and imaginary. His art is a palimpsest of meaning – the artist takes us beyond the cusp of reality and follows Eastern proverb saying that everything is a “palimpsest of the mind”: “The growth of a person is measured not from earth to head, but from head to heaven.” Dubovik applies innovative ideas and plastic solutions to his graphic art and painting as he reveals himself as part of the European art tradition and stays true to it by fully sharing its values.
Dubovik’s graphic works and paintings exhibited at the venue precisely hit the nerve of the time by reflecting the turbulence of life at the cusp of good and evil, as experienced today by Ukraine and the whole world. And once again, just like half a century ago Dubovik takes a stand against evil and leads his mighty army of artwork.
The exhibition “Standoff…” includes works created during different periods but mostly during the past several decades. It culminates with the Phantoms series (2022-2023). This signature series is especially dear to the artist – it has started during the first months of the war which at the time seemed to go on forever: the city was incessantly shelled and the air raid sirens kept on blaring in the streets. Each Phantom is a lost soul, Dubovik explains. The Phantoms are born from today’s chaos, they stand before us like the ghosts of ancestors and guardian angels. Dubovik has always stood up for the truth and during these trying times he did not abandon his home city and stayed to protect its lifeforce. “Art is the anticipation of harmony. It speaks to each individual and their personality, which results in a multitude of meaning,” Dubovik writes. So, each visitor is able to encounter their own Phantom and fill it with new meaning.