The Space Drivers
Alexander Dik is a Russian-German artist who spent his childhood in Kazakhstan, in the former Soviet Union. He thus shares the fate of a generation of Germans who were summoned by the German-born Tsarina Catherine the Great to settled on the Volga River. World War II led to the Volga Germans to be deported to Kazakhstan or Siberia under Stalin’s orders. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1991, the Germans did not hesitate for long; they sold all their belongings and set off on the journey back to their homeland.
As a young boy, Alexander went to school in Berlin (Marzahn Quarter) and experienced how, as a migrant, he was treated as a stranger. The vivid family fate shaped his life, his perception and strength to persevere, to develop a vital relationship to himself and to have an alert view of the world.
His power of articulation is reflected in the colors of his artworks, when the red prevails from the background, or the yellow creates the calmness, where in front of it the blue melts or the black is as deep as the night. His colors speak to us; they show us that we are only human if we behave like sensitive beings; as we breathe, as we are sometimes hopeless, dithering, hesitating, suffering and sometimes, alternately, for no good reason we are rejoicing to have a life that is pleasurable and filled with joy, like the time we are in love and feel united with someone.
In his abstract expressionism, Alexander Dik subordinates form entirely to content. It is an inward concentration on a theme, which is brought to the canvas with power and strength and without inhibition by the colors. We only need to stand in front of one of his paintings and in a brief moment of silence, which we must take, let the colors come to us. The whole palette of colors can show up on one of his canvases and the shapes depict what we think we feel at the moment of contemplation; what opens up to us when we are open.
As a painter, Alexander Dik is first and foremost a craftsman. Hardly any other artist works with such different painting techniques as he does. He brushes, he spatula, he throws the colors on the ground in the dripping process. Sometimes the colors protrude from the painting like mountainous folds, as in his painting called “Pirate Ship”, which is created by using parchment paper glued to the canvas.
Alexander Dik chooses a theme that follows clear narrative structures. In the painting “Sternenfänger” (Star-catcher), for example, he paints himself into Operation Paukenschlag, when the submarines of the German navy patrol off the American East Coast in 1942.
An artist like Alexander Dik is a seeker, searching for us if we want to accept it. This is what we feel with Alexander Dik. We feel somehow affected, caught in associating thoughts and these are the moments when our soul speaks. The soul whose place is somewhere in our body, but which we find so difficult to describe. When we stand in front of Alexander Dik’s paintings, we can feel our soul.