Alexander Bobkin, a 'traveler of the mind,' depicts spirituality in his own way, as a timeless and universal symbol.

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Bobkin's work is characterized by his quest for the hidden reality concealed behind the visible image. A visionary guided by his Siberian roots, he constantly travels through the mind to translate these mystical experiences onto canvas.

The artist Alexander Bobkin (1952, Novokuznetsk) was born in Siberia and received his education at the Yaroslavl Art Academy. Bobkin is a traveler who prefers to explore areas unknown to him. Several museums have added Bobkin’s paintings to their collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in Novokuznetsk, the Kemerovo Regional Art Museum, and the State Museum of Oriental Art in Moscow. After extensive travels, Bobkin settled in the Netherlands in 1990. His studio is located in the ‘Krayenhoff Kazerne’ in Nijmegen

Alexander Bobkin in his studio at the ‘Krayenhoff Kazerne’ in Nijmegen, 2023.

“It is the ritual atmosphere of initiation that hovers over his paintings.” – Ad Lansink

Contemporary icon painter

Bobkin cannot be directly labeled as an icon painter in the literal sense of the word. However, in a broader sense, one could argue that there is an aspect of it. It doesn’t entail a religious tone of venerating saints and following specific compositional rules. Instead, it’s about the mysterious atmosphere emanating from his depictions. It’s the ritualistic ambiance of initiation that hovers over his paintings. An initiation into understanding the secrets of an encounter; the sorrow of a weeping hare; or the state of a glass of water. Small stories depicted with minimal paint in a world that feels too vast.

Text: Delfi Form Art Gallery

A traveler of all times

Alexander Bobkin knows what it means to travel, between Novokuznetsk, where he was born in 1952, and the realm of Nijmegen, where he has lived and worked since 1990. He has also journeyed between the Jaroslavl Choedozjestvjennoje Academy near Moscow and – in 1972 – back to Siberia, where, after a few years among the shamans, he discovered a sense of mystery. His increasing recognition in his home country did not go unnoticed. Invitations for exhibitions in France and England proved as honorable as impractical. An invitation for London in 1990 led to a stopover in Amsterdam, from where he crossed with a visa to a new future. The delay in the Netherlands would become a permanent stay. Far from his homeland, Alexander Bobkin became a ‘traveler of the mind,’ who, in his own way, depicts spirituality as a timeless and universal sign. The connection between Eastern and Western culture finds an ambassador in Alexander Bobkin, who expresses his diplomatic talents through lines, planes, and colors, sometimes reserved, then exuberant, but always compelling.

Pictorial traditions

The work of Alexander Bobkin is intricately connected to the primal sources of our pictorial traditions. He draws inspiration not only from the artistic traditions of his Siberian homeland but also from Eastern, Oriental, and Western cultures, leaving distinct traces in his work. Over time, his work has evolved towards increasingly abstract forms. The image becomes a symbol, representing the essence of the depicted subject. In this way, he seeks to detach the image from any direct association and individual identity, aiming to explore the core of our pictorial tradition.

Both the more abstract works of Bobkin, as well as the paintings incorporating a form of figuration, exude a mystical atmosphere. Woven into an individual mythology, there are references to both Western cultural tradition and his Siberian roots.[2] 

He draws inspiration not only from the artistic traditions of his Siberian homeland but also from Eastern, Oriental, and Western cultures, leaving a distinct trace in his work.

Over the years, his work has evolved towards an increasingly abstract form. The image becomes a symbol representing the essence of the depicted subject. By reducing the figuration of objects in his work, he allows emptiness to speak.[3] “When setting up the background, I sometimes realize that everything is already there, and I don’t need to go further. I leave these works empty – or actually not empty at all, as there is still a lot happening.”[4]

Source: Wikipedia

More about Alexander Bobkin

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biographical book
Travelling in the mind / Reizen in de geest

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