Alexander Bobkin

The artist Alexander Bobkin (1952, Novokuznetsk, Russia) was born in Siberia and visited the Arts Academy of Jaroslavl. Bobkin is a traveller who prefers visiting areas that are still unknown. His paintings have been collected by the Museum of Modern Art in Novokuznetsk, the Kemerovo  Regional Art Museum and the State Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow.

In 1990 he arrived in the Netherlands and settled near the river Waal in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Now, he is an artist coming from a country that no longer exists: the Soviet Union. Bobkin gives a fascinating view of a mysterious and sometimes secret world which is very different from his new homeland. His artworks reflect the vastness of Siberia in which one can travel for days without the landscape changing much or where there is little chance of meeting anyone.

Alexander Bobkin -

Mind’s eye approach

In his paintings, Bobkin is searching for an imagination that is disconnected from things or words that can be made concrete. No description can encompass or summarize what has been visualized, because the language as medium does not suffice. Meaning can occur at the very moment that every need to make something concrete is being sacrificed to the ideal of art. The art lover that reveals himself as a traveler gives the artist a station as a moment of arrival and departure. In between those moments one can engage in the adventure of exploration and one can travel a world in which the most bizarre scenes loom. The boat for a miraculous catch of fish can sail on both the Wolga and the Waal. Bobkin has developed a pictorial language, without borders and without the limitations of national and regional concerns, which can be fully appreciated in a surrealistic idea of reality.

Contemporary icon painter

One cannot describe Bobkin as a painter of icons in the literal meaning of the term, but in a wider context one could. There is no religious composition in which saints are being honored and where composition is following certain rules, but there is a mysterious atmosphere in his pictures. There is a ritual ambience which is laying on top of his paintings. There is an introduction to the knowledge about the secrets of an encounter; the grief of a crying hare; or the condition of a glass of water. These are short stories that have been embedded in a few strokes of paint in a world that is too big.

A Day in the Life of Alexander Bobkin

“It seems as if he lives a very ordinary life. Like everybody else he sleeps, eats, goes to his work, goes fishing… But nobody really knows about his inner life. Is it as simple as it appears? Why is it that Alexander Bobkin, the Dutch artist with a Siberian background, is seen by many people to be one of the most mystical painters of the present day? I was glad to be allowed to spend one working day with Alexander to come a little bit closer to his “secrets”. There was just one condition: I had to be ” invisible” during the making of the video and also silent. That is why my film has no dialogue.”

Duration: 20 min.
By Lucy Besson. Year of production: 2006 (Nijmegen, NL)